In breaking news, an anti-graft tribunal sentenced former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to 7 years in jail for corruption on Monday. The verdict came soon after Sharif was axed from power last year over corruption accusations. Sharif, who was serving his third spell as PM, has denied any corruption.
Sharif is accused of possessing assets that are beyond his known sources of earnings and was put behind the bars soon after the decision was announced. However, he can further appeal the verdict, wherein he was also fined a whopping $25 million. The same court declared him ‘innocent’ in a second case.
“They had to punish him and they have punished him in a false case,” said Shahid Khaqan Abbasi who is a top leader of Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League party, who extended his services as a prime minister when Sharif was removed from power last year.
“People will not accept this verdict,” he said.
Nawaz Sharif was sentenced to 10 years in prison in July due to the purchase of luxury apartments in London. He also appealed that sentence and was released on bail in September, together with his daughter and her husband, who were co-accused in the case originating from documents escaped from a Panama law firm.
The two cases on which the court ruled were regarding Sharif’s foreign assets, which he insists are owned by his sons. His two sons, who are now living in London, were declared ‘absconders’ by the court.
Just moments prior to the announcement of the verdict, a riot broke between supporters of Sharif and police in Islamabad. Several women supporters of Sharif were seen crying and chanting slogans repeatedly.
Sharif’s daughter, Maryam Nawaz, has hinted that he is being punished for resisting “unseen forces,” a clear reference to the military, which has directly ruled Pakistan for half its modern history and continue to have a powerful role behind the scenes. She even wrote in a string of tweets Monday that the netizens of Pakistan were in support of her father.