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Pakistan’s 3-Time Former Premier Sharif Acquitted in Corruption Case

A court in Pakistan on Wednesday acquitted the country’s three-time former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in a corruption case related to the purchase of four luxury apartments in London, a court record said.

A two-judge bench of the Islamabad High Court (IHC), led by Chief Justice Aamer Farooq, granted Sharif’s appeal against his 10-year sentence in the case, commonly known as the Avenfield case in July 2018. The case was one of the three cases that stemmed from the 2016 whistleblower Panama Papers scandal.

His daughter and son-in-law have already been acquitted in the said case.

In a related development, the court disposed of an appeal against Sharif’s acquittal in another corruption case known as the Flagship case, after the country’s accountability authority – the National Accountability Bureau – withdrew its plea.

Sharif was acquitted in the Flagship case by an anti-corruption court in December 2018. However, the same court on the same day had convicted him in a third case – the Al Azizia case – sentencing him to seven years in jail.

His appeal against conviction in the Al Azizia case is pending before the IHC.

Sharif is the country’s only premier to serve thrice – from 1990 to 1992, 1997 to 1999, and 2013 to 2017 – but could not complete even a single tenure.

Two of his governments – in 1992 and 1999 – were dismissed by then-President Ghulam Ishaq Khan and former military ruler Gen. Pervez Musharraf, respectively.

His latest spell in power ended with him losing the right to hold office for life after investigations related to the Panama Papers scandal surfaced in 2017.

However, just before its tenure ended, the outgoing Parliament passed a controversial law to limit the lifetime disqualification of lawmakers to five years, clearing Sharif’s path to the ballot, slated to be held on Feb. 8 next year.

Source : aa