Pakistan PM’s daughter, heir apparent in corruption probe crosshairs

Pakistan PM’s daughter, heir apparent in corruption probe crosshairs

FILE PHOTO: Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif looks out the window of his plane after attending a ceremony to inaugurate the M9 motorway between Karachi and Hyderabad, Pakistan February 3, 2017.
ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – A damning judicial report into the family wealth of Pakistan’s Prime FILE PHOTO: Maryam Nawaz, the daughter of Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif gestures as she speaks to media after appearing before a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) who is investigating Sharif family’s wealth in Islamabad, Pakistan July 5, 2017.
Drazen Jorgic-JULY 13, 2017
Minister Nawaz Sharif threatens not just his premiership, but has also imperiled the political career of his daughter and heir apparent.
Maryam Nawaz Sharif, 43, has in recent years gained greater influence within Sharif’s inner circle, and is credited with steering him to embrace more pro-women and liberal causes in a deeply conservative nation of 200 million people.
Her feisty social media persona and combative tweets in defense of her father have often pitted her against Sharif’s rivals.
Now those opponents sense an opportunity to scupper any plans to build a Sharif dynasty around her after a Supreme Court-appointed panel accused her of committing a criminal offense in a 254-page report leaked to the media this week.
“It nips her career in the bud,” Sherry Rehman, vice president of the opposition Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP), told Reuters. “It does kill any aspirations for the dynasty – through her at any rate.”
The Joint Investigations Team (JIT) set up by the court alleges the Sharif family’s wealth does not match their income, and accused Maryam and her brothers of signing forged documents to obscure ownership of offshore companies used to buy posh London flats.
Maryam, also known as Maryam Safdar, “rejected” the report and tweeted to her 3.5 million followers that “every contradiction will not only be contested but decimated” in the Supreme Court.
Her 67-year-old father, serving a third stint as prime minister, faces widespread calls to resign but his allies say the report is biased and inaccurate. Maryam did not respond to Reuters requests for comment.
Maryam and her brothers were named last year in the Panama Papers leak as owners of offshore companies used to buy luxury flats in London, prompting opposition politician Imran Khan to threaten mass protests unless the Supreme Court investigated.
Khan, a former cricket star who leads Pakistan’s third party, has been one of her harshest critics and recently called her a “princess”, tapping into opposition anger that she appears to wield power within the government without holding any office.
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