Islamabad: Pakistan's ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Monday got a brief reprieve after an anti-corruption court postponed until October 9 his indictment in the Panama Papers scandal.
Sharif, 67, arrived at the Accountability Court amid tight security for the hearing in three graft cases against him and his family.
During the hearing, his lawyer Khawaja Haris argued that all of the accused in the case have to appear in court before an indictment can take place.
Mohsin Shahnawaz Ranjha, a leader of Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), told the media after the hearing that last for more than an hour that the indictment has been postponed. "The indictment is still pending and it would be discussed at the next hearing on Monday (October 9)," he said. The court also issued non-bailable arrest warrants to Sharif?s sons Hussain and Hasan and son-in-law Muhammad Safdar and summoned them on the next hearing.
Harris had contended that since Sharif's children were in London to take care of their ailing mother, arrest warrants should not be issued.
But the court refused and issued non-bailable arrest warrants. Ranjah said that Maryam and her husband Muhammad Safdar are ready to come back to the county from London and will appear in the court in the next hearing. He said the defence did not press the issue of Sharif's exemption from appearing in the court.
His lawyer asked the court at the last hearing that Sharif needed to take care of his wife in London so he would be allowed to skip a personal appearance in the court.
Lawyer Shahab Sarki said that Sharif's children now needed protected or transitory bail to avoid arrest after they would land in Pakistan from London.
Heavy security arrangement made around the judicial complex created an unpleasant situation when Sharif?s supporters and several cabinet ministers, including Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal, were not allowed to enter the court premises.
Sharif had earlier appeared before the accountability court on September 26 in connection with the case.
The Supreme Court had disqualified Sharif on July 28 in the Panama Papers case and ordered the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to file corruption and money laundering charges against the Sharif family and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar.
The NAB has filed cases of corruption and money laundering against Sharif, his family members and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar in the Accountability Court in Islamabad and Rawalpindi. The anti-graft body also froze the bank accounts and seized properties of Sharif and his family members to put pressure on them to appear before the court.
Sharif's family has alleged that the cases are politically motivated.