'My conscience is clear,' says Nawaz ahead of accountability court's verdict

Published December 24, 2018
Nawaz Sharif arrived from Lahore to Islamabad early Sunday. — File photo
Nawaz Sharif arrived from Lahore to Islamabad early Sunday. — File photo

Ahead of the accountability court's verdict on two corruption references against Nawaz Sharif, the PML-N supreme leader said that his conscience was clear.

Nawaz was speaking to party members on Monday at a farmhouse in Islamabad, from where he headed to the accountability court to hear the verdict in the Al Azizia and Flagship Investment references.

He also met his lawyer Khawaja Haris at the farmhouse of Abbas Afridi, a PML-N leader and former senator. Hamza Shahbaz was among the party leaders who gathered at the farmhouse to meet the PML-N supremo.

Nawaz struck a defiant tone ahead of the verdict, saying: "I do not have any sort of fear; my conscience is clear. I have done nothing that would force me to bow my head. [I] have always served the country and this nation with absolute honesty."

The former prime minister was confident that "there isn't much in the cases".

He also lambasted the ruling PTI government for "derailing Pakistan once again", and claimed that it has "sabotaged the country's journey towards prosperity".

Nawaz Sharif arrived from Lahore to Islamabad early Sunday and then met his younger brother and Leader of the Opposition Shahbaz Sharif at Ministers' Enclave.

In September 2017, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) filed three references against Nawaz Sharif – regarding Avenfield Properties, Al-Azizia, and Flagship Investment – on the Supreme Court's directives in the landmark Panamagate verdict last year which deseated Nawaz as the prime minister.

On July 6, accountability judge Mohammad Bashir handed down convictions to Nawaz, Maryam, and son-in-law Capt Mohammad Safdar (retd) in the Avenfield Properties reference and jailed them for 10 years, seven years and one year respectively. But on Sept 19, the Islamabad High Court granted them bail after suspending the sentence. NAB’s appeal against the suspension of the sentence remains pending before the top court.

The other two references concern the setting up of the Al-Azizia and Hill Metal Establishment in Saudi Arabia, and Flagship Investment in the UK. The accountability court charged Nawaz in both references under Section 9(a)(v) of the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999.

On Monday, close to 2:45pm, the court announced the judgement, handing Nawaz seven years in jail in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills corruption reference, while acquitting him in the second one.

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