LAHORE: After securing swift relief from Pakistani courts in different corruption cases since his return from exile, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday got another one as the national anti-graft body closed a major corruption investigation against him and his daughter Maryam Nawaz. The development comes ahead of the February 8 general elections in Pakistan where Sharif, chief of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party is being considered as a front-runner for a record fourth as the prime minister.
The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) announced closing a mega corruption probe against 74-year-old Nawaz Sharif and his other family members in the Sharif Trust case. “The NAB’s executive board today approved the closure of a corruption probe against PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz Sharif and other family members in the Sharif Trust case,” an NAB spokesperson said.
The investigation against the Sharif family into the Sharif Trust case was launched in 2000 over allegations of receiving millions of rupees in funds in the Sharif Trust through illegal means. Nawaz and his family members were also accused of misappropriation of funds and making property by using the name of the Trust.
Since his October 2023 return from the UK, where he spent four years in self-exile, Nawaz Sharif has been acquitted in Avenfield and Al-Azizia cases, in which he was convicted for 10 and seven years respectively. Earlier on Monday, Nawaz became eligible to contest next month’s general elections after the Supreme Court struck down a lifetime ban on lawmakers under Article 62 (1)(f) of the Constitution for not being honest and righteous.
Nawaz was handed down a lifetime ban by the apex court in the Panama Papers case. He is contesting on two national assembly seats — one in Lahore and the other in Mansahra. The PML-N has hailed the decision of the Supreme Court over lifetime disqualification as a step towards restoration of constitutional sanity.
“History has vindicated three-time premier Nawaz Sharif and restored his honour. The provision of lifetime disqualification was an instrument created for one reason and one agenda to exclude Nawaz from politics forever,” PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb said in a statement. “The architects of this sinister provision in the law should be held accountable for adulterating the Constitution which was the highest level of offence in the Islamic republic,” she added.