Nawaz Sharif sentenced to seven years in prison in controversial corruption case

Nawaz Sharif sentenced to seven years in prison in controversial corruption case

Speaking to the media after the verdict, former premier and senior PML-N leader Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, said the verdict was announced behind closed doors when it should have been "announced openly".

The court acquitted him in the case of Flagship Investments, but in the other cases, he was fined the equivalent of $25 million.

Shortly before the announcement of the verdict, clashes erupted between supporters of Sharif and police in Islamabad.

Sharif was ousted and disqualified from holding office by the Supreme Court in July 2017 and jailed earlier this year in absentia.

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.

The information minister said that the people who are still defending Nawaz Sharif should be ashamed of themselves because the money involved in the scam belongs to the people of Pakistan. "[I] have always served the country and this nation with absolute honesty". "This is another black day for Pakistan, another black decision", Abbasi said.

However, Sharif, who arrived in Islamabad from Lahore on Sunday, said that his conscience was clear.

The premier's assistant said, "The JIT report has revealed the presence of a "Zardari system" functioning across Sindh to facilitate corruption through fake accounts". Tear gas and baton-charge was used to disperse the protesters. Scores of PML-N workers gathered outside the court premises to show their support for the party's supreme leader.

Only a few party leaders and journalists were allowed to enter the small courtroom - already packed to capacity by lawyers and the judicial staff.

On December 7, the Supreme Court (SC) had given the accountability court its last extension to wrap up the two remaining references against the Sharif family.

Sharif was sentenced to 10 years in prison in July over the purchase of luxury apartments in London. The two are also on bail. However, in the Flagship case, the court acquitted Sharif since there was not enough evidence to convict him. All routes leading to the accountability court were also sealed.

His two previous governments were dismissed over corruption charges and through a bloodless military coup in 1992 and 1999, respectively. He also met his younger brother and Leader of the Opposition Shahbaz Sharif at Ministers' Enclave.

Monday's conviction, centred on family businesses in the Middle East, is his second stemming from a corruption investigation spurred by the Panama Papers leak, and comes as new Prime Minister Imran Khan has vowed to tackle endemic corruption in Pakistan.

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