RAWALPINDI: An accountability court on Friday cleared Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif of all charges pertaining to a money laundering reference filed 14 years ago.
During a hearing presided by Justice Anwar Ahmed at the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) court, Sharif brothers, along with Kulsoom Nawaz, Maryam Nawaz and Hamza Shahbaz, were acquitted from all corruption charges in relation to Raiwind palace, Hudaibya Paper Mills and possession of illegal assets.
Justice Ahmed said the cases had been pending for 14 years and not a single witness had appeared in court.
Terming the charges against the Sharif family as politically motivated, the court said these had no factual bases.
However, another reference accusing the Sharif family of defaulting over a bank loan in relation to Ittefaq Foundries is yet to proceed in the accountability court.
The hearing of the case was subsequently adjourned to October 2.
Earlier in 2000, the General (retd) Pervez Musharraf-led government had prepared a money laundering reference against Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz (PML-N) leaders Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif.
The reference had said that the Sharif brothers had used the Hudaibya Paper Mills as a cover for money laundering during the late 1990s.
The ruling comes at a favourable time when the embattled Nawaz Sharif is struggling to hold his own with the protesting Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) demanding for his resignation and calling his government the outcome of a rigged election.
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