But long before he was forced out by the Supreme Court, the military had the upper hand yet again. And the judiciary’s actions against him and his family were widely seen as being supported by the army’s top ranks. Military officials have denied those accusations.
While some Pakistani politicians have hailed the court rulings as bold moves to fight corruption and impunity for the powerful, Mr. Sharif’s supporters insist that the judiciary was overstepping its role and was carrying out a political vendetta on behalf of the military and Mr. Sharif’s rivals.
The Panama Papers, documents leaked from a Panamanian law firm that catered to the world’s wealthy and powerful, revealed that three of Mr. Sharif’s children controlled shell companies through which they owned expensive residential properties in London. The revelations set off political turmoil and ultimately led the Supreme Court to disqualify him from office and order a criminal investigation into his behavior.
The Supreme Court had faulted the Sharif family for failing to provide documentation of the money they used to buy their London apartments. Investigators found that they were “living beyond their means,” and several of the documents they produced were declared fake or insufficient.
Mr. Sharif was in London when he was indicted, visiting his wife, who is undergoing medical treatment, his aides said.
After the original court ruling disqualifying him from holding a seat in Parliament, Mr. Sharif went to Lahore, his hometown. Upon his arrival, his vehicle was swarmed by thousands of supporters, in a show of continuing political support for the Sharif family and their political party, PML-N.
Mr. Safdar, Mr. Sharif’s son-in-law, was arrested earlier this month at Islamabad’s main airport as he and Maryam Sharif were returning to Pakistan. He was released on bail after the couple appeared before an anticorruption court.
Speaking to reporters later, Maryam Sharif said she had “strongest reservations” over the court cases against her family but still decided to appear before the court.
“We are not the ones to be afraid of arrests,” she said.
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