Islamabad, Pakistan: Former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been sentenced to seven years in prison after he was found guilty on Monday of owning assets “disproportionate to his known sources of income.”
An anti-corruption court in the country’s capital Islamabad imposed a fine of USD $25 million on Sharif. It also disqualified him from holding public office for 10 years. The disqualification will go into effect after he has served his seven-year prison sentence.
Sharif was found guilty under section 9(a)(v) of Pakistan’s National Accountability Ordinance. According to the ordinance, a public office holder has committed the offense of corruption if the person or any of his dependents own, possess, or have any right or title in any property or pecuniary resource disproportionate to the known sources of income and when such a situation cannot be reasonably accounted for by the accused. The National Accountability Bureau had filed three cases, the Avenfield properties case, the Flagship Investment case and the Al-Azizia steel mills case against Sharif on September 8, 2017, following a judgment by the Supreme Court of Pakistan that disqualified him from holding the office of prime minister for being “dishonest” in terms of Article 62(1)(f) of the Pakistani Constitution.
While Sharif was handed a prison term of 11 years earlier this year in the Avenfield properties case, Judge Muhammad Arshad Malik had reserved the verdict on December 19 in the other two cases. The judge acquitted Sharif in the Flagship Investment case but held the 69-year old former premier guilty of corruption in the Al-Azizia steel mills case.
Opposition political parties have called the recent “accountability drive” in the country a “witch-hunt” and accuse the Imran Khan-led federal government of being puppets in the hands of Pakistan’s army. The army has a history of meddling in the South Asian nation’s politics and overthrowing civilian governments. Sharif’s second term as prime minister ended in 1999 after he was deposed by then army chief Pervez Musharraf in a bloodless coup.