Politics

Ex-Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif acquitted in graft case

Islamabad, Nov 29 (EFE).- A court on Wednesday acquitted former Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif in a graft case related to the purchase of upscale London flats, his lawyer said.

“Nawaz Sharif was acquitted in the Avenfield reference by the Islamabad High Court, which annulled the sentencing by the accountability court,” lawyer Azam Nazeer Tarar told reporters outside the court.

The accountability court had sentenced the three-time ex-prime minister to 10 years in prison in 2018 for buying the upscale Avenfield apartments in London by his family.

Last month, Sharif got protective bail from the same court after he returned to the country, ending a four-year self-imposed exile in the United Kingdom.

The accountability court had also fined Sharif 8 million pounds ($10.6 million) in a money laundering case and for corruption related to the London flats in July 2018 after the Supreme Court removed him from power.

The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawar (PML-N) leader also got seven years in prison on corruption charges in an al-Azizia Steel Mills reference by a Pakistani anti-corruption court in December 2018.

Sharif has also appealed against the sentencing in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills reference.

He was also disqualified for life from electoral politics and holding any office of his center-right PML-N.

However, his disqualification period was later limited to five years through a parliamentary act during the premiership of his younger brother, Shehbaz Sharif, in June.

After being acquitted by the Islamabad High Court, Sharif said he had left the matter to God to decide his fate.

“Thanks be to Allah,” Sharif told reporters at the court.

Sharif had blamed the army for his ouster through disqualification and sentence by courts in 2017. He accused the military establishment of bringing Khan to power in the 2018 general elections.

Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party has blamed Sharif for striking a deal with the military to come to power again for the fourth time in general elections due in February next year.

The Pakistani military has played an active role in the country’s politics since its inception in 1947. The army has ruled for nearly half of Pakistan’s history through coups. EFE

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