Pakistan: Shahbaz Sharif arrested in money laundering case

Islamabad: Shahbaz Sharif, Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) president, was arrested in a money laundering case from the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday.

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National Accountability Bureau (NAB) officials took him into custody from the court premises after his bail plea was rejected. The two-judge bench of the court rejected the bail petition filed by Pakistan’s Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly on charges of money-laundering and maintaining assets beyond known sources of income.

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PML-N leaders and supporters came onto the streets to protest the arrest. “We are not scared of these arrests,” said Marriyum Aurangzeb, spokeswoman for Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N). Sharif is the brother of three-time prime minister Nawaz Sharif, who was ousted over corruption allegations in 2017 and is currently residing in Britain after being released from prison earlier this year for medical treatment.

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Maryam Nawaz – the daughter of the ex-premier – also confirmed her uncle’s arrest on Twitter. “Sharif has been arrested ONLY because he REFUSED to play in the hands of those who wanted to use him against his brother. He preferred standing behind prison bars than to stand against his brother,” she tweeted.

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The arrest comes as opposition parties have reignited efforts to remove Khan from office, vowing earlier this month to launch a protest movement in the coming weeks demanding the government’s resignation. Pressure has been simmering against Khan’s government in recent months with the country’s economy battered by fiscal deficits, soaring inflation and a string of currency devaluations.

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Khan was elected in 2018 on promises to rein in corruption and build a welfare state. But since taking power, the former cricketer has struggled to deliver on his campaign vows amid economic headwinds.

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– with inputs from agencies

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