Accountability court sentences Pakistan’s former PM seven years in jail

ISLAMABAD, An accountability court in Islamabad on Monday awarded former prime minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif seven years in jail in a corruption reference and ordered that his properties be seized.

The deposed prime minister was arrested from the courtroom after he was found guilty in the Al-Azizia corruption reference and the accountability Judge Arshad Malik announced the verdict.

However, the court acquitted the opposition party Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) supremo in the Flagship reference but imposed a fine of USD 15 million. Sharif’s sons, Hassan and Hussain, were declared absconders.

The court, after earlier reserving its decision, accepted Sharif’s application for imprisonment in eastern Lahore city. PML-N workers gathered and protested outside the court to show their support for the party’s supreme leader. Some protestors began pelting stones and tried to force their way into the court complex but police retaliated with tear gas shelling and baton-charging the supporters.

Security was beefed up in the federal capital Islamabad, with heavy contingents of police and Rangers deployed in many parts of the city. PML-N leaders rejected the court decision saying that the cases against the former premier were politically motivated. Former prime minister and senior PML-N leader Shahid Khaqan Abbasi talking to media after the verdict said, “We will protest against the verdict and overcome it.” Earlier in July last year, the SC verdict had, besides disqualifying then prime minister Nawaz from his position, also directed the accountability authority to file three references regarding the family’s Avenfield Properties, Al-Azizia Steel Mill, and Flagship Investment before the accountability court.

The accountability court handed down convictions to Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Capt Mohammad Safdar (retd) in the Avenfield Properties reference and jailed them for 10 years, seven years and one year respectively. The Islamabad High Court granted all three bail after suspending their sentences and National Accountibility Bureau’s appeal against the suspension of the sentence remains pending before the Supreme Court.

Source: Kuwait News Agency