Nawaz sentenced to prison in Al-Azizia, acquitted in Flagship reference

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

He added that Nawaz Sharif faced accountability for 9 years during Musharraf's tenure and has been facing prosecution in the Panama case for the last two years.

Sharif's supporters said he would also appeal against his latest conviction.

Shehbaz Sharif, his younger brother and three-time chief minister of Punjab, the country's most populous province, is already in NAB custody in connection with a housing scam.

Monday's verdict came after Sharif was removed from power a year ago over corruption allegations.

Sharif was ousted and disqualified from holding office by the Supreme Court in July 2017 and jailed earlier this year in absentia. He was held liable for inability to explain assets beyond means in the Al-Azizia reference case, but has been acquitted in the Flagship Investment reference case.

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.

Nawaz Sharif is being punished for something else, he said.

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Sharif, who denies wrongdoing, was jailed in July in a different corruption case but bailed on appeal when the Islamabad High Court suspended his 10-year sentence in September.

"They had to punish him and they have punished him in a false case", said Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, a top leader of Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League party, who served as prime minister when Sharif was removed from power previous year.

Meanwhile, Maryam Nawaz, Sharif's daughter in a series of tweets on Monday, claimed that the accountability court's verdict against her father in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills corruption reference was "based on assumptions".

The Section 144 has been imposed in the capital, but the Islamabad and Rawalpindi administrations have decided that there will be no blockade at the entry points of the capital, and security officials will only ensure strict checking. Tear gas and baton-charge was used to disperse the protesters. They also agreed to seek support from the Pakistan People s party (PPP) to steer out of political quagmire.

Sharif's daughter, Maryam Nawaz, has suggested he is being punished for resisting "unseen forces", an apparent reference to the military, which has directly ruled Pakistan for half its modern history and retains a powerful role behind the scenes.

Nawaz's sons Hassan and Hussain Nawaz were also accused in the two remaining corruption references.

Today also marks Sharif's 69th birthday.

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