Former Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif has been sentenced to 7 years in jail in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills graft case. He has been acquitted in the Flagship Investments case related to the Panama papers scandal, but a fine of Rs1.5 billion was imposed. The cases were filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).
The court also ordered Sharif’s properties to be seized, and imposed a fine of $25 million in the Steel Mill case, according to some reports.
Judge Muhammad Arshad Malik of Islamabad-based accountability court had reserved the judgment last week. Sharif had said prior to the judgment that his conscience was clear. “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 had said.
As per reports, Sharif could not prove his source of income for the ownership of a steel mill in Saudi Arabia. The same court had convicted him to 10 years in prison in September on charges connected to the purchase of apartments in London. He was released in September on bail pending an appeal.
Nawaz Sharif has been taken into custody by NAB. His legal team have asked the court to send him to Lahore instead of the Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi. Judge Arshad Malik allowed Nawaz to be shifted to the Kot Lakhpat Jail in Lahore.
“The court announced that he would be sentenced to seven years in jail in the Al-Azizia steel mills case, whereas he has been cleared of the other charge,” a reporter from Al Jazeera said. “This is indeed something which is going to be taken seriously by his political party. However, it should also be remembered that Nawaz Sharif was earlier arrested in the Avenfield properties case, he was sent to prison. He then lodged a review petition and was released on bail,” he said.