ISLAMABAD (Dunya News) – Former prime minister has been sentenced to seven years in prison in Al-Azizia Steel Mills reference, whereas, he has been acuitted in Flagshipship reference filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).
The verdicts in the corruption references against Nawaz Sharif were announced by the Accountability Court Judge Arshad Malik today (Monday).
In the verdict, the court has imposed Rs3.47 billion (USD 25 million) fine on the former prime minister. The court also ordered the National Accountability Brueau (NAB) to arrest Sharif from the courtroom.
On the other hand, permanent arrest warrants have been issued against Sharif’s sons Hassan and Hussain.
On December 18, the Accountability Court judge Muhammad Arshad Malik had reserved the judgement after completion of trial in the Flagship Investment and Al-Azizia cases against Nawaz Sharif last week. The corruption cases were initiated by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in September 2017 on the Supreme Court’s directives.
Security beefed up in twin cities
Meanwhile, security was beefed up in Islamabad and Rawalpindi ahead of announcement of verdicts by the Accountability Court on December 24, in two references Al-Azizia and Flagship filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) against former premier Nawaz Sharif.
Reportedly, enhanced security plan includes deployment of heavy contingent of security forces including rangers and 1,000 police officers, particularly around the accountability court’s premises in Islamabad to curb a possible resistance by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s supporters.
Moreover, only Sharif and his lawyers were allowed to enter the court room.
The accountability court had indicted Sharif for holding assets beyond his known sources of income in August 2017.
Last week, the judge rejected application by Sharif s lawyer Khawaja Harris to provide one week time to submit more documents but allowed him to provide any document by Friday last.
The PML-N supremo had been sentenced to 10 years in jail in a corruption case by an accountability court in May this year, however, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) suspended the conviction in September.
Sharif denied wrongdoing
The three-time former prime minister and his family have denied any wrongdoing.
Sharif, who appeared in court for at least 78 times, told the media after the court reserved its judgement last week that single penny corruption could not be proved against him.
"Not a penny of corruption has been proven against me. I am very happy that I have done my duty, and I think that since I have stepped in politics I have never indulged in corruption nor have misused my power," he said.
Panama Papers scandal
In July 2017, he was disqualified by the Supreme Court over the Panama Papers scandal, which also led to the filing of three corruption cases. Not long after, the top court also barred him from holding the leadership of his party.
On July 6, the former prime minister was sentenced to 10 years in prison for corruption. The court also sentenced Sharif’s daughter and presumed political heir, Maryam Nawaz Sharif, to seven years’ imprisonment, fined the family £10m and ordered the seizure of the Avenfield properties.
In September, the accsued were released from Adiala jail after the Islamabad High Court suspended their respective prison sentences in the Avenfield corruption reference.