A Pakistan court on Monday sentenced former prime minister Nawaz Sharif to seven years in jail in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills corruption case and acquitted him in the Flagship Investments case.
In its verdict, the court said there was concrete evidence against the 68-year-old former premier in the Al-Azizia reference, and that he was unable to provide a money trail in the case. However, in the Flagship case, the court acquitted Sharif since there was not enough evidence to convict him.
The verdicts were announced by accountability court Judge Muhammad Arshad Malik. Sharif was present in the court when the verdict was announced.
The Supreme Court had set the deadline for Monday to wrap up the remaining two corruption cases against the three-time former prime minister.
قائد مسلم لیگ ن محمد نوازشریف احتساب عدالت کی جانب روانہ pic.twitter.com/hjeNN0IDjy
— PML(N) (@pmln_org) December 24, 2018
The accountability court had indicted Sharif for holding assets beyond his known sources of income in August 2017.
Three cases – Avenfield properties case, Flagship Investment case and Al-Azizia steel mills case – were launched by the National Accountability Bureau on September 8, 2017 following a judgment by the apex court that disqualified Sharif. While Sharif was sentenced to 11 years jail earlier this year in connection with the Avenfield properties case, Judge Muhammad Arshad Malik had reserved the verdict on December 19 in the other two cases.
Sharif, who is out on bail, arrived in Islamabad from Lahore on Sunday. The three-time former prime minister who appeared before the court for at least 78 times has denied any wrongdoing. “I do not have any sort of fear; my conscience is clear. I have done nothing that would force me to bow my head. (I) have always served the country and this nation with absolute honesty,” he said outside the court. The security was beefed up around the judiial complex of the accountability court. Scores of PML-N workers gathered outside the court premises to show their support for the party’s supreme leader.
Sharif’s daughter Maryam and son-in-law retired captain Mohammad Safdar were also convicted in the Avenfield properties case. His two sons – Hassan and Hussain – were also co-accused in all three cases but they were declared absconders for failing to appear before the court even for a single time. The court decided to hear their cases separately once they returned back.