Thursday, February 22, 2024

Pak Court acquits ex-PM Nawaz in 37-yr-old ‘bribe’ case

A Pakistani court on Saturday acquitted former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in a 37-year-old case related to him allegedly transferring a “precious state land” to one of the country’s leading media house owner as a “bribe”.
The court ruling came days after the federal government led by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, the younger brother of Nawaz Sharif, made crucial amendments to laws to lift the life-long ban on politicians.
Nawaz Sharif was disqualified in 2017 by the Supreme Court. In 2018, he became ineligible to hold public office for life after a Supreme Court verdict in the Panama Papers case.
“An Accountability Court in Lahore acquitted three-time premier Nawaz Sharif in a case related to illegal transfer of 54-kanal (6.75 acres) precious state land to Jang/Geo media group owner Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman in Lahore while he was the chief minister of Punjab 37 years ago,” a court official told PTI.
“Judge Rao Abdul Jabbar acquitted him after the country’s anti-graft body (National Accountability Bureau) informed the court that after recent amendments to its law (by the Shehbaz Sharif-led coalition government) the case does not fall in its preview,” the official said.
The court has already acquitted Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman in this case.
NAB’s earlier charge sheet accused Nawaz Sharif, who was also the chairman of Lahore Development (LDA) in 1986, of misusing his authority and rendering undue benefit to Rehman by approving the exemption of 54 precious plots measuring one kanal each in a single block (compact form) situated at canal bank H- Block of M A Jauhar Town, Lahore.
Nawaz Sharif, the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supreme leader, has been living in self-exile in the United Kingdom since November 2019.
Before his departure to London on a four-wheel bail by the Lahore High Court on medical grounds, Sharif was serving a seven-year jail term in the Al-Azizia Mills corruption case.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief and ousted prime minister Imran Khan alleged that former army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa had manoeuvred Sharif’s ouster from jail and later struck a deal with him.
The PML-N says its supreme leader will return to Pakistan once the date of the general elections is announced. Elections in the country are due in October after the tenure of the incumbent government ends on August 13.


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