Pakistan gripped in legal gridlock

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ISLAMABAD: Legal gridlock has gripped Pakistan with an array of senior politicians and members of ruling party facing charges of allegations and order criminal charges, US media reported.

Such legal woes besetting Pakistan come amid militant threats, mounting financial crisis and deteriorating relations at Line of Control and working boundary with arch-rival India and relations with US, according to a report by NBC News.

The report says at the heart of the legal woes gripping Pakistan are charges facing former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his family.

Country’s top court has ousted Nawaz Sharif and ordered NAB to initial corruption references against him and his family. The court had also declared him unfit to hold any public office.

However, last week, the former premier set the stage for a political comeback with the passing of a bill in Parliament, where his party PML-N is in majority, that would allow Sharif to regain control of the Pakistan Muslim League—Nawaz.

Nawaz Sharif faces more than a dozen pending corruption cases. And it doesn’t stop there, NBC reported.

According to the NBC, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif is being investigated for money laundering, model town incident and others.

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar was indicted last week on corruption, money-laundering and undeclared income charges. As the man in charge of Pakistan’s faltering economy, he’s faced calls from the opposition to resign.

Three children of Nawaz Sharif including his daughter Maryam Nawaz, also face graft investigations. Maryam Nawaz’s husband captain (retd) Safdar was arrested by anti-corruption authorities on Monday. Her brothers, Hassan and Hussain, are wanted by the courts.

And Nawaz Sharif’s replacement, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, is also being investigated for corruption, it said.

The opposition is also facing legal woes.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan is being investigated by the parliament after allegations of harassment made by a party member as well as charges that he failed to declare his income. His deputy, Jahangir Tareen, is also being tried for corruption.

The political chaos in the country comes amid deteriorating relations with India.

Tensions are mounting on the Pak-India border as Indian troops are continuing ceasefire violations.

The legal and political chaos is having an impact on Pakistani living standards, with suddenly increased food and oil prices. The stock market has suffered its highest quarterly loss since June 30, 2008, according to an expert.

The IMF has also warned that the Pakistan rupee is overvalued.

“The most serious challenge confronted by the country is the deepening economic crisis. It is further aggravated by political uncertainty,” said Hussain, the columnist. “It is really a dangerous situation.”

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