Pakistan ex-PM Nawaz Sharif’s sons return to Lahore after self-exile in UK

Lahore: Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s two sons returned to the country from the UK after a six-year self-exile after an accountability court suspended their arrest warrants in the Panama Papers scandal. Hassan Nawaz and Hussain Nawaz left the country in 2018 after they were named in the 2016 Panama Papers scandal.

An accountability court had declared them as proclaimed offenders in the Avenfiled case in 2018 and had issued non-bailable perpetual arrest warrants against them. The case revolves around the Sharif family’s ownership and acquisition of luxury apartments in London. “Nawaz’s sons arrived here from London on Tuesday and were escorted to their Jati Umra Lahore house in a high security,” the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party said in a statement. Nawaz Sharif is the PML-N supremo.

The Jati Umra residence of the Sharifs has already been declared as Chief Minister House where a heavy contingent of police has been deployed for the security and protocol of Punjab Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz and her father Nawaz Sharif. Hussain and Hassan, through their counsel, applied to an Islamabad accountability court, seeking the suspension of the warrants issued against them in the Avenfield Apartments, Al-Azizia, and Flagship Investment cases which were accepted.

Last week the court suspended their arrest warrants till March 14 in the three corruption cases related to the Panama Papers scandal. The brothers, who are British nationals, were implicated in the cases in 2018 along with their father Nawaz Sharif, sister Maryam Nawaz and her husband Muhammad Safdar.

All other accused, including Nawaz Sharif, have been acquitted in all the cases and only the two brothers were still required to face the courts as they were not formally tried due to their absence.

Like their father, the two brothers are likely to get acquitted in all three cases as the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), which had instituted these cases against them, has given them a clean chit.

In 2018, Nawaz Sharif, Maryam and Safdar were convicted in the Avenfield while the three-time former premier was also convicted in the Al-Azizia cases and acquitted in the Flagship case. All of them separately challenged convictions in the Islamabad High Court. Maryam and Safdar were the first to get relief in 2022 when they were acquitted while Nawaz Sharif was still living in London.

Since the Sharif family and their party — the PML-N — are being patronage by the current military establishment all the cases against them have either been closed or acquitted.

In October last year, Nawaz Sharif returned to Pakistan after a four-year self-imposed exile in the UK and after brief proceedings, he was acquitted in all cases.

His younger brother Shehbaz Sharif was elected as Pakistan’s prime minister for a second time after the PML-N and the Pakistan Peoples Party agreed on a power-sharing deal to form a coalition government.

Maryam, the 50-year-old daughter of Nawaz Sharif, took oath as the first-ever woman chief minister of Pakistan’s most populous and politically crucial Punjab province on February 26.