Nawaz continues criticism of CJP after Abbasi’s meeting with top judge

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Islamabad: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif continued his criticism of Chief Justice (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar on Wednesday, only hours after Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi called on the CJP in an apparent bid to defuse tensions between the executive and judiciary.

“The tamasha [circus] that you are seeing here cannot go on for long,” Sharif said while talking to reporters after his appearance at an accountability court in Islamabad.

Repeatedly asked about the surprise meeting between the prime minister and CJP, Sharif avoided the question and instead chose to criticise Justice Nisar.

“I cannot say for sure but I think that we were the [real] target” of the Supreme Court’s scrutiny of medical colleges and visits to hospitals, he said, explaining that this was because his family runs the Sharif Medical City which is a charitable institution.

He added that it appeared that the purpose of the scrutiny was to implicate his family but it could not be fulfilled as nothing incriminating was present against them.

Sharif claimed that first the role of the parliament slipped into the “hands of others”, referring to his removal as the PML-N president, and now, the role of the executive has also “been taken in control by the CJP because of his suo motu actions”.

“Feel free to take action [on public issues] but also do something about the 1.8 million cases pending in different courts,” Sharif said.

Sharif, his family and aide Ishaq Dar are facing multiple corruption references filed on orders of SC in the Panama Papers verdict which also disqualified the third-time elected prime minister from holding public office.

Sharif, who was re-elected as PML-N president after the passage of Elections Act 2017, was later also removed from the post of party head after the SC ruled that a disqualified person cannot lead a party in any capacity.

Sharif has since been given the title of PML-N quaid [leader] for life and has continued criticism of judges at the apex court.

Wajid Zia, the head of the joint investigating team that probed Sharif family’s business dealings abroad in Panamagate case, told the accountability court today that there is no document to prove Nawaz Sharif owns flats in London.

Zia was answering questions posed by Sharif’s lawyer Khawaja Haris in the Avenfield properties reference.

Zia said he had no evidence to prove Sharif was the beneficial owner of offshore companies namely Nielsen and Nescoll, neither was there a document or a bank transaction that showed that he had paid the rent or utility bills of the properties in question.

He also said that the letter by Mossack Fonseca — the legal firm at the centre of the Panama Papers leaks scandal — regarding Nielson and Nescoll did not prove Sharif was the beneficial owner of the two offshore companies.

He further stated that according to investigation carried out by the JIT, the Avenfield properties were purchased in the name of the offshore companies.

Zia had on Tuesday repeated the JIT’s findings about the trust deeds regarding Nielsen and Nescoll presented by Sharif’s daughter, Maryam Nawaz, terming them fake.

The accountability references against Sharifs are in the final stages as the extended deadline issued by the Supreme Court to wrap them up approaches.

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