Ousted Pakistani PM Sharif gets seven years' jail for graft

Nawaz Sharif former Pakistan prime minister was sentenced Monday to seven years in prison for corruption

Although the prosecution had opposed the application saying that Adiala jail had been notified by the federal government for imprisoning convicts of Islamabad courts, the judge accepted Sharif's plea and said that since he had convicted him and was sending him to jail, he could make the decision at his own discretion.

Before the accountability court announced its verdict on Monday, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif said that he was hopeful that justice would be served as he had not indulged in any corruption.

In the wake of strong criticism by PML-N leaders over the accountability court's verdict against former premier Nawaz Sharif, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry on Tuesday fired a broadside at the opposition parties calling them "Thugs of Pakistan" once again.

On July 6, after four extensions in the original six-month deadline to conclude all three cases, the accountability court announced its verdict in the Avenfield reference.

The court last week rejected Sharif's request for postponement of the verdict for a week, as he wanted to submit some more evidence to bolster his case. He was released in September pending an appeal.

The accountability court said he could not prove the source of income for ownership of al-Azizia steel mill in Saudi Arabia.

Sharif was found guilty on the first charge seeking details on how his family came to control the steel mill.

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Sharif's lawyers said the accountability court's verdict will be challenged in the Islamabad High Court.

The Section 144 has been imposed in the capital, but the Islamabad and Rawalpindi administrations have decided that there will be no blockade at the entry points of the capital, and security officials will only ensure strict checking. "I was never involved in misuse of authority and corruption so my conscience is at peace", he said.

Security personnel fired tear gas and baton charged his supporters outside the court.

He said his party would launch nationwide peaceful protests and also raise its voice inside parliament against this "injustice". The company was used by the Sharif's family to launder money, evade tax and hide offshore assets. His sons 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 younger Sharif is also facing a probe by the NAB.

Sharif was disqualified from holding office by the Supreme Court in July 2017, and convicted in absentia a year later.

The former minister said that the selected accountability of selected prime minister is not acceptable, adding that Convention League under the guise of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).

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