Nawaz Sharif gets jail for 7 years in corruption case

An anti-corruption court in Pakistan on Monday sentenced ousted premier Nawaz Sharif to seven years in jail in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills graft case but acquitted him in the Flagship Investments case. The verdict concludes a series of three court cases against the Sharif family in the high-profile Panama Papers case. Mr. Sharif was also disqualified from holding any public office for 10 years. The disqualification will come into effect after he serves the seven-year sentence. Three cases — the Avenfield properties case, Flagship investment case and Al-Azizia steel mills case — were launched against the Sharif family by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on September 8, 2017 following a judgment by the Supreme Court that disqualified Mr. Sharif in the Panama Papers case in July last year. Accountability Court II Judge Muhammad Arshad Malik announced the short verdict after reserving the decision on December 19. Saudi steel plants Judge Malik said there was concrete evidence against the 68-year-old former premier in the Al-Azizia case, and that he was unable to explain the source of the money used to set up the Al-Azizia Steel Mills in Saudi Arabia by his family in 2001 and later on the Hill Metal Establishment, also in Saudi Arabia. The court sentenced also imposed a fine of $2.5 million and ordered the seizure of the Al-Azizia and Hill Metal properties. Mr. Sharif, who was present in the court, was immediately taken into custody. His lawyer’s request that the PML-N chief be shifted to Kot Lakhpat Jail in Lahore instead of Adiala Jail was granted by Judge Mailk. Mr. Sharif can challenge the verdict. “We will protest against the verdict and overcome it,” senior PML-N leader Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said. Security was beefed up around the court, with heavy contingents of police and Rangers deployed around the building.

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