Pakistani PM’s son returns from exile to face corruption charges
ISLAMABAD — A son of Pakistani Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif returned home on Sunday after four years in London to face corruption charges that were brought against him in 2020.
Suleman Shahbaz arrived in Islamabad early on Sunday and then flew to his hometown of Lahore after meeting his father at the prime minister’s residence, said Ata Tarar, spokesman for Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League party.
Suleman Shahbaz’s lawyers last week obtained a protective bond for him from the Islamabad High Court, which will be in effect until Tuesday. He forbids federal investigators from arresting him until then so he can go to trial court.
The Federal Investigation Agency in Lahore charged Sharif and his two sons, Hamza and Suleman, with corruption and money laundering in November 2020. Suleman had flown to London ahead of the 2018 general election when the main body anti-corruption agency has filed several cases against him. .
Sharif and Hamza were acquitted of the charges by a court in October, but Suleman never stood trial after moving to London. The FIA accused the three men of laundering 16.3 billion rupees (nearly $200 million) between 2008 and 2018.
In Pakistan, members of successive governments have targeted political opponents by taking legal action against them, ostensibly to keep them entangled in legal proceedings and removed from the political arena.
Sharif, the brother of disgraced former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, was elected prime minister by Pakistan’s parliament earlier this year after a week of political turmoil that led to Imran Khan’s ousting by a motion of censorship in parliament.