Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan ex-PM, sent back to jail for corruption

Saul Bowman
December 27, 2018

Shortly after his conviction in the National Accountability Court's Al-Azizia corruption case Monday, Mr Sharif's counsel requested court to shift him to Lahore jail instead of Adiala since the veteran leader is a heart patient and his personal physicians and family members are stationed in Lahore. He has the option to challenge the verdict against him.

Thereby, the court sentenced Sharif to at least seven years in prison along with a fine of $25 million and 1.5 million pounds.

He was released from jail in September after he won an appeal. (This was) blind revenge's last hiccup but victory is Nawaz Sharif's, thank God.

In an emergency meeting after the verdict, the NAB made a decision to challenge Sharif's acquittal in the Flagship case in the high court.

He was found guilty in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills graft case, while was acquitted in the Flagship investments corruption case in the Panama Papers scandal.

Judge Malik said that there was no case against Sharif in the Flagship reference.

Monday's jail sentence was the fourth verdict against Sharif in less than 18 months, after he was ousted as Prime Minister by the Supreme Court over investigations into Panama Papers claims in July 2017, which was followed by a Supreme Court ruling in April this year that disqualified him from holding public office for life.

Nawaz Sharif arrived in Islamabad from Lahore to listen to the judgment in the courtroom.

His two sons, who are now living in London, were declared absconders by the court.

Responding to Pakistan People's Party (PPP) criticism, the federal minister said cases against Asif Ali Zardari were registered during tenure of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government; JIT has submitted its report into fake account case in the Supreme Court. "I hope justice will be done and I will emerge victorious", he said.

Sharif's sons are accused in all three references whereas daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Muhammad Safdar were accused in the Avenfield reference only.

Security was tightened around the court in Islamabad before the verdict and a thousand police officers were on standby, the government said.

Sharif was once a favourite of Pakistan's powerful generals but fell out with them.

Tight security had been put in place around the jail before the arrival of the former prime minister as Rangers were deployed at the police checkposts established on the route to the prison.

Meanwhile, Sharif held a long meeting with the PML-N president and his younger brother Shahbaz Sharif on Sunday at his residence to discuss party matters and the post-verdict scenario. Moreover, it's expected that other opposition political parties are likely to support the PML-N in its effort to lead the agitation as many of them also face the same pressures at the state level. The court chose to hear their cases separately once they returned.

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