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Tuesday May 21, 2024

Nawaz’s former guard charged for spitting on woman

The guard appeared at the Westminster Magistrates Court on Wednesday afternoon with his lawyer Moeen Khan

By Murtaza Ali Shah
April 18, 2024
Complainant Panzani Cheema (left) and former PMs guard Farid Nemouchi. — Provided by reporter Murtaza Ali Shah /File
Complainant Panzani Cheema (left) and former PM's guard Farid Nemouchi. — Provided by reporter Murtaza Ali Shah /File

LONDON: The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has charged former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s driver with the alleged common assault of spitting on a woman here in September last year.

The CPS told Geo and The News the close protection guard Algerian Farid Nemouchi has been charged with alleged “common assault” on a complaint made by Panzani Cheema, a Brunei national who works in London.

Pakistani media had interviewed Nawaz Sharif a moment before the incident. Panzani had appeared from nowhere and started filming and questioning as Farid Nemouchi was pulling out to take Nawaz Sharif home, from Hasan Nawaz’s office.

The guard appeared at the Westminster Magistrates Court on Wednesday afternoon with his lawyer Moeen Khan. He pleaded not guilty before the judge and said he will contest the charge of spitting and causing distress to Panzani who didn’t appear in the court.

The prosecutor told the judge the spitting act had left Panzani distressed and caused her trauma. The judge told Farid he was on bail without any conditions attached. The trial will take place at a later date in June or July.

Panzani had knocked on the window of the car on September 16 last. Farid, driving Nawaz Sharif, lowered the window and said “Hi” to the woman. The woman said “Hi” to Nawaz Sharif and said, “I have heard you are a very corrupt Pakistani politician”.

Angered by the comment, the driver allegedly spat on her face, rolled up the window and drove away. The entire incident was caught on Panzani’s phone.

Farid, Algerian by origin, is a highly trained martial arts expert who protected Nawaz Sharif in London for nearly three years during the former premier’s last exile in London. Farid’s lawyer Moeen Khan said his client has decided not to plead guilty. “We will try to prove our client didn’t break any law. It must be kept in mind the circumstances of the incident of September 16 last year. Farid was protecting a high-profile figure at the time who had live threats to his life, reported to the Met Police. Farid Nemouchi is a professional boxer and bodyguard, one of the best in the field. He is innocent until proven guilty by the court as is the UK law”.