Photo shows Pakistan Muslim League (N) leader Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif.—File Photo

KARACHI: The legal battle between the main opposition Pakistan Muslim League (N) and key partners in the ruling coalition, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, further intensified Saturday when an MQM lawmaker submitted a petition in the Supreme Court, calling for the Sharif brothers and their family members to be declared ineligible to contest the next general elections.

The petition filed in the SC’s Karachi registry by MQM National Assembly member Advocate Iqbal Qadri calls for a probe into alleged irregularities in the Sharif family’s assets both in and outside Pakistan. The application also asks the court to make public the details of decades-old bank loans that were written off, making both the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and the National Accountability Bureau parties in the case.

The Lahore High Court is hearing petitions seeking quashment of three corruption references relating to the Hudaibya Paper Mills, Ittefaq Foundries and Raiwind assets – prepared by NAB against PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif and his family members. According to NAB, the Sharif family is a defaulter of Rs3.8 billion in one of the three corruption references against it.

MNA Iqbal Qadri’s petition also states that, during former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s tenure, the establishment of military courts in Sindh and the extra-judicial killings of several Karachi citizens during his government should also be probed.

The petition filed Saturday appears to be a tit-for-tat move by the MQM after the PML-N also filed a case in the SC earlier this week challenging the party command and control by MQM chief Altaf Hussain on grounds that he was a foreign national and forbidden under the law to become a member of the parliament.

The timing of both petitions is significant as general elections in Pakistan are just around the corner.

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