Former Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif was sentenced seven years imprisonment in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills graft case but was acquitted in the Flagship Investments case on Monday. The court also fined Nawaz Rs1.5 billion in the Al-Azizia reference. The anti-corruption court said in its ruling that the three-time prime minister was unable to prove the source of income that led to his ownership of a steel mill in Saudi Arabia. Three cases - Avenfield properties case, Flagship investment case and Al-Azizia steel mills case - were launched against the Sharif family by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on September 8, 2017 following a judgment by the Supreme Court that disqualified Sharif in the high-profile Panama Papers case in July last year.
ALSO READ | India takes over operations of strategic Chabahar Port in Iran
Sharif, who was present in the court, was immediately taken into custody. His lawyer requested the judge that the PML-N quaid (supreme) be shifted to Kot Lakhpat Jail in Lahore instead of Adiala Jail. The request was granted.
Commenting on the verdict, Sharif said that his conscience was clear as he was never involved in any kind of corruption. "I was never involved in misuse of authority and corruption so my conscience is at peace," he said. His daughter Maryam broke months-long silence and took to twitter to criticize the judgment as "vengeance". "Punishment to the same man for the fourth time. (This was) blind revenge's last hiccup but victory is Nawaz Sharif's, thank God," she tweeted in Urdu.
Meanwhile, legal expert Shah Khawar said that acquittal of Sharif in one case and conviction in the other will go in his favour. "The two cases are connected as in both cases money trail was required. So Sharif's lawyer will use it at appeal level," he said.
Sharif was sentenced in July to 10 years in prison by the same court, on charges related to the purchase of upmarket apartments in London, after the Supreme Court removed him from power. He was released in September pending an appeal.
ALSO READ | Afghanistan: 29 killed in militant attack on Kabul government compound
In July, 2018 Sharif, his daughter Maryam and his son-in-law Captain (retd.) M 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.