In a major development, the interim Punjab government on Tuesday ‘suspended’ sentence awarded to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in Al-Azizia reference, ARY News reported, citing sources. Nawaz Sharif was convicted by accountability courts in Avenfield and Al-Azizia references. This means he is now eligible for running the next general elections.
Earlier, the accountability court had awarded a 10-year jail term to Nawaz in the Avenfield case and a seven-year sentence in Al-Azizia reference. Besides, the court had also disqualified him from holding public office for the next ten years.
What are Avenfield properties and Al-Azizia reference cases?
According to Pakistan English Daily, Dawn, the court had ousted Nawaz in 2018 and handed 10 years in jail in the Avenfield properties corruption reference. He was charged for possessing assets beyond income and one year for not cooperating with the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), which were to be served concurrently.
Moreover, his daughter, PML-N Chief Organiser Maryam Nawaz, had also been sentenced to seven years in jail in the case. However, she was acquitted in September 2022 along with her husband retired Captain Safdar.
The Al-Azizia Steel Mills corruption reference pertains to the lawsuit in which he was sentenced to seven years in jail on December 24, 2018. Besides, he was also fined Rs 1.5 billion and US$25 million in the case, reported Dawn.
Nawaz Sharif returns to Pakistan
However, in 2019, his sentence in the Al-Azizia reference was suspended by the Lahore High Court (LHC) on medical grounds. He was then permitted to fly to London on medical grounds. Since then, he lived in exile in London. But after his brother Shehbaz Sharif, who had also served as Prime Minister after ousting Imran Khan, paved the path of his safe return to Islamabad.
Sharif returned to Pakistan on Saturday after spending four years of self-imposed exile in London. His highly-anticipated visit was followed by his address at a major rally of his party in Lahore, where his followers have made huge preparations to welcome the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo.