'Corrupt' former Pakistan PM gets 14 years

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The Independent Online

A Pakistani court yesterday sentenced ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to 14 years' hard labour after convicting him on corruption charges.

A Pakistani court yesterday sentenced ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to 14 years' hard labour after convicting him on corruption charges.

The special Accountability Court at Attock Fort, northwest of the capital Islamabad, also fined Sharif 20 million rupees (£260,000) and barred him from politics for 21 years for failing to declare in his tax return the money used to buy a Russian helicopter for an election campaign.

"I only pray to Allah," Sharif said when asked if he would appeal.

Sharif was overthrown in a bloodless coup last October by army chief General Pervez Musharraf.

Sharif is already appealing the two life terms he had received in April when he was convicted of hijacking and terrorism charges related to the day of the coup when a passenger plane containing General Musharraf was briefly forbidden to land in Karachi on a flight from Sri Lanka.

He said after yesterday's verdict that the convictions "show that there is a clear-cut agenda of General Musharraf that has only one target, and that is me.

"It is because of a personal vendetta that such a great injustice is being done to me," he told reporters. Sharif had boycotted the trial and refused to present any defence. (Reuters)

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