The Islamabad High Court has directed former prime minister Nawaz Sharif to appear today to face major corruption allegations.
The three-time premier is currently in London undergoing a heart-related surgery. He was granted leave of travel by the Lahore High Court last year on condition of his ailing health and has not returned to Pakistan since, thereby delaying the legal proceedings. Sharif, who was previously sentenced to seven years in prison in the Al-Azizia Mills corruption case, was recently charged with separate charges of misuse of authority in the illegal allotment of land when he was Punjab province’s chief minister.
The current corruption case has major implications for current Prime Minister Imran Khan’s governance. Nawaz Sharif’s failure to be indicted enables him to marshal the opposition in Pakistan and grow his political clout. However, while Khan—a subject of widespread ridicule and public anger due to the failing economy—may lose his political mandate, leaders of the two major opposition parties have come under fire by the National Accountability Bureau for various graft and corruption charges. Furthermore, the divergent agendas of the myriad opposition parties, as well as Khan’s military establishment backing, make it unlikely for the opposition to gain any real traction in its bid to oust the incumbent.
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