Following a recent groundbreaking ruling by the Supreme Court of Pakistan, it has been reported that a minimum of 80 high-profile corruption cases, which include charges against former prime ministers Nawaz Sharif and Shehbaz Sharif, as well as former president Asif Ali Zardari, are set to be reopened in Islamabad's Accountability Court
Supreme Court of Pakistan. File photo/AFP
Following a recent groundbreaking ruling by the Supreme Court of Pakistan, it has been reported that a minimum of 80 high-profile corruption cases, which include charges against former prime ministers Nawaz Sharif and Shehbaz Sharif, as well as former president Asif Ali Zardari, are set to be reopened in Islamabad's Accountability Court. These cases had been closed due to amendments made to anti-corruption laws during the previous government's tenure, led by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), which was headed by Nawaz Sharif. Officials have indicated that hearings for these cases will commence shortly.
The Supreme Court, led by former Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial, issued its landmark decision on September 15, declaring the amendments to anti-graft laws invalid. Additionally, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has been directed to revive these closed cases against public officials within a seven-day period.
The NAB prosecution has already provided the records for these 80 cases to the accountability court in Islamabad, while several others have been returned to accountability courts in Rawalpindi and Quetta. Official sources reveal that approximately 2,000 cases that were previously closed are now being reopened against various officials and business figures, thanks to the Supreme Court's intervention.
Among the notable cases being revived are the Park Lane case against PPP leader Zardari, the Universal Services Funds case involving former Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani, the Rental Power Projects case against former Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, and the case of Benazir Income Support Programme's former chairperson Farzana Raja. Cases against former Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz and the fake accounts cases involving Zardari and Omni Group's directors have also been reinstated.
In its order, the Supreme Court directed that "The NAB and/or all other fora shall forthwith return the record of all such matters to the relevant fora and in any event not later than seven days from today, which shall be proceeded with in accordance with law from the same stage these were at when the same were disposed of/closed/returned."
Notably, former prime ministers Nawaz Sharif and Shehbaz Sharif will also have to contend with cases that were closed due to amendments made by the PML-N government before recommending the dissolution of the National Assembly last month ahead of the upcoming general elections.
There are concerns within the PML-N that these revived corruption cases may have legal implications for Nawaz Sharif's planned return from London next month, marking the end of his nearly four-year exile. These legal challenges could potentially affect his leadership of the party in the upcoming general elections. (Agencies)