LAHORE – A money-laundering case against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, his brother Shehbaz Sharif and 62 other politicians was delayed today by an electrical explosion in the High Court.

Many other cases including a complaint against poor facilities at public hospitals were also shelved when a transformer in a High Court wall exploded at 9:20 am this morning.  The explosion caused a power cut which plunged the courts into darkness and brought its proceedings to a halt.

The money laundering case against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, his brother Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, PTI Chairman Imran Khan and PPP head Asif Ali Zardari and 60 other politicians all stand accused of illegally transferring large sums of cash overseas in breach of foreign exchange limits. The cases were first launched in 1996 against 26 politicians and the number of accused has grown steadily since.

The court had been set to hear counsel advance their arguments on the petition filed by Barrister Javed Iqbal Jafree.  He has alleged that the politicians transferred at least 300,000 million US dollars to foreign countries through money laundering.

These cases are part of more than 100,000 cases pending before the Lahore High Court and raised concerns about long delays in the administration of justice.

The explosion and subsequent outage highlighted a shortage of emergency generators which could have allowed High Court proceedings to go ahead. Instead lawyers, litigants and witnesses were left frustrated after making unnecessary journeys to attend.

 “As I reached here to argue on a proper case the court is not working due unavailability of light,” said a lawyer Usman. He said “some courts are being provided electricity through generators but my is not,”

A Lahore Electricity Supply Company (LESCO) official said repairs to the transformer were under way to restore the courts’ lighting and heating. Problems at Mangla Dam had also caused blackouts in many cities throughout Punjab.