Published: Tue, December 25, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

Ousted Pakistan PM Sharif jailed for seven years on corruption charges

Ousted Pakistan PM Sharif jailed for seven years on corruption charges

Former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been sent back to jail after a fresh corruption conviction.

He was arrested after the ruling was announced. It, however, acquitted him in the Flagship Investments corruption case in the high-profile Panama Papers scandal. However, Judge Arshad Malik reserved the verdict in Al Azizia reference and Flagship Investment on Wednesday. Sharif was taken into custody soon after the verdict. He has the option to challenge the verdict against him.

He was released in September after a court suspended his sentence pending an appeal hearing.

Decision over corruption references against Nawaz Sharif announced today by the Accountability Court.

Footage on local Geo TV showed police erecting barbed wire to prevent the flag-waving activists of Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) party from entering the court premises. "PML-N braved the era of former president Pervez Musharraf".

Following the verdict announcement, PML-N supporters clashed with security personnel.

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Sharif was found guilty of corruption charges relating to the purchase of Al-Azizia Steel Mills where prosecutors alleged that the Sharif family misappropriated government funds to buy the mills. "I do not have any sort of fear; my conscience is clear", he had said before the judgement, according to PTI. I have done nothing that would force me to bow my head.

Abbasi also said the party will thrive as it did during earlier trying times.

He said his party would launch nationwide peaceful protests and also raise its voice inside parliament against this "injustice". Hamza Shehbaz, Shehbaz Sharif's son and the opposition leader in Punjab Assembly, is also facing inquiries in connection with multiple corruption cases. The court chose to hear their cases separately once they returned back.

The former Pakistan Prime Minister had arrived in Islamabad on Sunday from Lahore ahead of the verdict. The judge on Dec 21 rejected an application by Sharif's lawyer Khawaja Haris to defer the judgment. The judge also observed that the court was bound to follow December 24 final deadline set by the Supreme Court. Sharif, who was serving his third stint as prime minister, has denied any wrongdoing. The last time I saw HIM smile was with HER.

Since September 2017, Sharif has appeared before the accountability courts some 165 times, Dawn reported. The JIT also held that Nawaz Sharif received 97 per cent profit as "gifts" from Hill Metals Establishment, another company established by Hussain Nawaz Sharif in 2005, in Saudi Arabia.

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