An anti-corruption court in Pakistan on Monday sentenced former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to seven years in jail and fined him $2.5 million (approximately Rs 17.5 crore) in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills corruption case, Dawn reported.
The court, however, acquitted him in the Flagship Investment case. The court had reserved its judgement in the cases last week. Both cases involved allegations of wrongdoing in the setting up of the two companies. The Sharif family is accused of having funds and assets disproportionate to their income.
The court said it had found concrete evidence against Sharif in the Al-Azizia reference, for which he was unable to provide a money trail, reported Geo News. However, there was not enough evidence in the Flagship Investment reference. Sharif was taken into custody soon after the verdict.
The two cases were among the three filed by the National Accountability Bureau against Sharif and his children in September 2017 – the third being the Avenfield properties case. The bureau had filed the cases on the basis of the Supreme Court’s orders in its July 2017 Panamagate verdict, which had disqualified Sharif from the post of prime minister.
In July, a lower court sentenced Nawaz Sharif to 10 years in jail, Maryam Nawaz to seven years and her husband Captain (retired) Safdar to a year in prison in connection with the Avenfield case. But in September, the Islamabad High Court granted them bail and suspended their jail terms.
The agency has also named Sharif’s sons – Hussain Nawaz and Hassan Nawaz – as accused in the cases. The former prime minister and his family have insisted that they used legitimate financial resources but were unable to disclose them before either the accountability court or the Supreme Court.
Sharif, who arrived in Islamabad from Lahore on Sunday, had said his conscience was clear. “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. [I] have always served the country and this nation with absolute honesty.”