Jailed Nawaz Sharif wants open trial in corruption cases

Jailed Nawaz Sharif wants open trial in corruption cases

Jailed Nawaz Sharif wants open trial in corruption cases

The former Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz were taken to Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi yesterday after returning back to Pakistan.

Sharif and his political heir Maryam were arrested at the Lahore airport late on Friday as they returned to the country in an attempt to rally for their beleaguered party days before the July 25 polls.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader Maryam Nawaz, who was arrested along with her father Nawaz Sharif upon their arrival in Lahore, has said that she is in prison for being the daughter of a fearless man.

In the July 6 judgement, Judge Bashir acquitted Sharif of the charge of corrupt practice, but convicted him, his daughter Maryam and son-in-law Safdar for owning assets beyond means and awarded 10 years jail to Sharif, seven years to Maryam and one year to her husband Safdar.

The arrest will be a blow to Sharif's PML-N party, which is contesting a July 25 general election as the incumbent party, but alleges that it has been the victim of "political engineering" by its opponents during the campaign.

A team of doctors, in the presence of Islamabad magistrate and senior police officials at Adiala jail, also conducted the medical examination of Sharif and his daughter Maryam and declared them fit.

Addressing a rally, he said: "How will the Muslim Leaguers go to the airport to receive Nawaz Sharif?". The country has, over the years, seen power see-sawing between the military and civilian leadership.

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Nawaz Sharif, a three-time prime minister has been shadowed by charges of corruption throughout his career.

Mobile phone service was cut off by mid-afternoon, as Sharif's brother, Shehbaz, led around 10,000 supporters of his Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) on a march toward the city centre in defiance of a citywide ban on public gatherings, according to a witness.

Pakistani and global rights groups have accused the military of seeking to maintain its influence in the country's politics by keeping Sharif out of power. He also used the opportunity to again criticize Pakistan's powerful military, which has ruled the country directly or indirectly for most of its 71-year history, saying Pakistan now has a "state above the state". Sharif is entitled to "A-Class", being a former prime minister.

Sharif's return comes at a time of dwindling fortunes for his party, which one year ago was considered a runaway favourite to retain power.

To prevent PML-N workers staging a hero's welcome on the streets, authorities had said they would arrest the father and daughter upon landing and fly them to the capital Islamabad, local media reported. They include former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, who replaced Sharif past year and served until June, when the caretaker government took over.

PML-N leaders had called on supporters to turn out as a show of strength to mark Mr Sharif's return. But the veteran politician has ensured that each moment of his return delivers him returns in limelight and column inches, including him leaving behind wife Kulsoom who is on ventilator support following surgery for throat cancer in the United Kingdom and his leaving a country that offered him comfort and safety he is bound to be denied (or at least not ensured) in his home country.

PML-N has also been riven by internal divisions.

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