Nawaz Sharif moved to jail in Lahore, to serve for 7 years

A Pakistani anti-corruption court on Monday jailed former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for seven years on graft charges he says were politically motivated.

The Supreme Court had set Monday as the deadline to wrap up the remaining two corruption cases against the three-time former prime minister.

Sharif was sentenced to 10 years in prison by the same court in July, on charges related to the purchase of upscale apartments in London, after the Supreme Court removed him from power.

Meanwhile, his legal team has chose to challenge the accountability court's verdict in the next week in the Islamabad High Court (IHC).

For now, the PTI appears to be the political victor of the decision: the prison sentence of Sharif and corruption related cases against other opposition political personalities will further dampen the efforts of the opposition political parties when it comes to any challenge to the ruling party's power.

Last week, National Accountability Bureau (NAB) finalized the final arguments in Flagship reference against Nawaz Sharif.

On the other hand, his sons Hassan and Hussain have been declared absconders and permanent arrest warrants have been issued against them.

In July this year, he was convicted in one case revolving around family properties in London, and sentenced to ten years in prison.

Supporters of former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif protest against a court ruling, in Multan, Pakistan, Monday, Dec. 24, 2018.

Sharif was sentenced to seven years by a Pakistan accountability court in a case involving Al-Azizia Steel Mills, Pakistan's Geo TV reported. "(I) have always served the country and this nation with absolute honesty", he said while talking to senior party leaders in a special meeting in Islamabad before going to the court.

Hundreds of police paramilitary troops - many of them carrying anti-riot shields - surrounded the court from early in the morning to hold off Sharif's supporters, who gathered in large numbers. In 1997, he won an election and became PM for the second time, only to be expelled and exiled after a military coup by ex-army chief Pervez Musharraf in 1999. The party's unanticipated rise to the national level is widely described as the result of a general consensus in Pakistan to isolate Sharif's politics and his political party.

"The first case in which Nawaz Sharif was disqualified, the crime ascertained was that he did not take salary from his son", said former federal minister Ahsan Iqbal.

An across the board accountability process against the corrupt was underway, he added. The younger Sharif was also facing probe by the NAB.

"Nawaz Sharif is trying for plea bargain by offering two billion U.S. dollars to set him free, through various sources", Vawda continued. Not long after, the top court also barred him from holding his party's leadership.

  • Tracy Klein