Pakistani authorities have detained the convicted son-in-law of embattled former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif two days after a court in Islamabad sentenced him to jail over a corruption ruling linked to his family’s purchase of luxury flats in London.
The Pakistani anti-corruption watchdog said in a statement on Sunday that Muhammad Safdar was arrested after he resurfaced in the garrison city of Rawalpindi. He went into hiding after an anti-graft court convicted him last Friday.
“After continued raids of National Accountability Bureau (NAB) at his houses in Abbotabad, Mansehra and Haripur, Captain Safdar decided to surrender before NAB,” the statement read.
Safdar dramatically appeared with hundreds of supporters, marching down the city’s streets Sunday for hours with the crowd growing. Earlier in the day, Safdar and supporters had driven around Rawalpindi holding impromptu rallies.
Safdar said “justice has been massacred” and railed against the judiciary.
NAB has also requested media not to air Safdar’s live speeches, saying they are against the law and the code of conduct of the country’s media regulator.
The court on Friday handed down a 10-year jail term to Sharif in a corruption case linked to his family’s purchase of upscale flats in London. Sharif was jailed as the family could not explain how they obtained funds to purchase four luxury flats in London’s exclusive Hyde Park area.
Sharif’s daughter Maryam, widely seen as his political heir, received a seven-year prison sentence. Muhammad Safdar, her husband and a lawmaker with the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N), was sentenced to one year in prison. Maryam was given a prison term for allegedly providing a forged trust deed, for which Safdar was a witness.
Both Sharif and his daughter were sentenced in absentia as they are in London tending to Sharif’s wife, Kulsoom, who is receiving treatment there.
The ruling dealt a major blow to PML-N ahead of general elections scheduled for July 25.
Sharif and his daughter would return to Pakistan on July 13 from London. They deny wrongdoing and plan to appeal the court’s decision. “We will reach Lahore on July 13,” Maryam told reporters.
Sharif resigned last July after the Supreme Court disqualified him from holding executive office over an undeclared source of income.
Sharif was the 15th prime minister in Pakistan’s 70-year history to have been ousted before completing a full term. He had previously served twice as prime minister and each time he had been ousted from office, in 1999 by a military coup and in 1993 by a presidential order.
The Sharif clan and their supporters have repeatedly denied allegations of corruption, suggesting the three-time premier is the victim of a conspiracy driven by Pakistan’s powerful military establishment
Source: Press TV