Former prime minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif has been sentenced to seven years in jail in Al-Azizia Steel Mills corruption case. The accountability court, which acquitted Sharif in the second graft case related to Flagship Investments hill metal case, has also asked him to pay 25 million USD fien for alleged graft in the Al-Aziza matter.
Last week, Judge Muhammad Arshad Malik of Islamabad-based accountability court had reserved the judgment after completion of hearing in the Flagship Investment and Al-Azizia cases against 68-year-old Sharif.
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The accountability court had indicted Sharif for holding assets beyond his known sources of income in August 2017.
Three cases - Avenfield properties case, Flagship Investment case and Al-Azizia steel mills case - were launched by the National Accountability Bureau on September 8, 2017 following a judgment by the apex court that disqualified Sharif.
The apex court initially set six month deadline to conclude the cases but it was subsequently increase around eight times on the request of the accountability court.
Sharif was disqualified by the Supreme Court in the Panama Papers case in July, 2017.
In July, 2018 Sharif, his daughter Maryam and his son-in-law retired captain Mohammad Safdar were sentenced to 11 years, eight years and one year respectively in prison in the Avenfield properties case related to their purchase of four luxury flats in London through corrupt practices.
However, the three were bailed out by the Islamabad High Court in September.
His two sons - Hassan and Hussain - were also co-accused in all three cases but they were declared absconders for failing to appear before the court even for a single time.
The court decided to hear their cases separately once they returned back.
The three-time former prime minister and his family have denied any wrongdoing.
Sharif, who religiously followed the proceeding by appearing before the court for at least 78 times, told the media after the court reserved the judgment last week that he not committed any corruption.
"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.
Veteran politician Javed Hashmi on Saturday predicted that Sharif will be convicted in the Flagship and Al-Azizia case as "the institutions won’t let these (cases) prove false".
Talking to the media in Multan, he said that the purpose of the NAB was to make politicians change their political loyalties.
"I will not accept this decision as Nawaz Sharif will be convicted at any cost," he was quoted as saying by Dawn newspaper.