Nawaz Sharif sentenced to seven years in jail in corruption case

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A day earlier, an accountability court announced the verdict in two National Accountability Bureau's references namely Al-Azizia Steel Mill and Flagship Investment and punished Nawaz to seven years in prison and ordered him to pay $25million and Rs1.5 billion as fine.

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.

Sharif was sentenced to 10 years in prison in July over the purchase of luxury apartments in London.

He appealed that sentence and was released on bail in September, along with his daughter and her husband, who were co-accused in the case stemming from documents leaked from a Panama law firm.

Supporters of former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif gather around a vehicle carrying him as he arrives to appear before an anti-corruption court in Islamabad Pakistan
Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan ex-PM, sent back to jail for corruption

Commenting on the verdict, Sharif said that his conscience was clear as he was never involved in any kind of corruption.

The three-time former prime minister has maintained that the cases against him were initiated on the basis of allegations levelled by his political rivals and the report of a joint investigation team in the Panama Papers case was biased. Moreover, she said that no evidence indicting him could be unearthed, and today's decision is proof of his honesty, integrity and veracity.

"Appeal is our right, we will protest but will remain peaceful", former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, who succeeded Sharif past year, told reporters outside the courthouse in Islamabad.

Sharif is accused of possessing assets beyond his known sources of income.

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Nawaz arrived in Islamabad from Lahore ahead of the court's verdicts in the remaining two corruption references against the Sharif family: Flagship investment and Al-Azizia steel mills.

Sharif, however, denied the charges, accusing the government and the establishment - a term coined to designate the country's powerful army - of unleashing "selective justice" against his party and family.

The Supreme Court ordered Sharif to step down from office a year ago after a government investigation into his family's wealth after the publication of the Panama Papers. However, Judge Arshad Malik reserved the verdict in Al Azizia reference and Flagship Investment on Wednesday.

Police used tear gas and charged the PML-N workers with batons to disperse them.

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Those defending Sharif should be ashamed, he said, as the Pakistani people have been defrauded.

On July 6, the same accountability judge handed down convictions to Nawaz, his daughter Maryam, and son-in-law Capt (r) Mohammad Safdar in the Avenfield Properties reference and jailed them for 10 years, seven years and one year respectively. Not long after, the top court also barred him from holding his party's leadership. The younger Sharif is also facing a probe by the NAB.

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