Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had his first court appearance Monday to answer for corruption allegations. Shehbaz Sharif became Prime Minister in April after a vote of no confidence ousted Prime Minister Imran Khan. The current investigation stems from allegations that Sharif abused his power when he was Punjab’s chief minister. From 2013 to 2018, Sharif allegedly gave out contracts to those connected to his party.
Sharif’s attorney, Amjad Pervez, voiced concerns about the hearing impacting Sharif’s job as Prime Minister, so the Court granted an exemption for Sharif to avoid appearing in-person.
Sharif’s political party—the Pakistan Muslim League—has been accused of corruption in the past. Issues have stemmed from family-favored patronage. Corruption allegations against the Party have included controversy surrounding sports projects. However, the Sharif family has also had its fair share of corruption allegations. For example, former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Shehbaz Sharif’s brother, faced a scandal concerning luxury apartments which led to a ten-year prison sentence in 2018.
The court appearances also include allegations against Sharif’s son Hamza Shahbaz, who is also the current Chief Minister of Punjab. These allegations surround a multi-billion rupee money-laundering case.