Court overturns conviction of former Pakistani premier Nawaz Sharif ahead of parliamentary election

A Pakistani court has overturned the 2018 conviction of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in a graft case, clearing his path to run in the parliamentary election set to be held in February

Munir Ahmed
Tuesday 12 December 2023 13:20 GMT

A Pakistani court overturned Tuesday the 2018 conviction of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in a graft case, clearing his path to run in the parliamentary election set to be held in February.

The Islamabad High Court announced its verdict after Sharif filed his appeal in October. Courts in Pakistan usually take much longer to issue such rulings. The same court acquitted Sharif in another graft case on Nov. 29.

Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League party welcomed the verdict, saying the country's three-time former premier was exonerated and could run in the coming election.

Marriyum Aurangzeb, Sharif's spokesperson, hailed the court ruling, saying: "Today, the reality of these fake and false cases has come to light in front of the public.”

In 2018, an anti-graft tribunal sentenced Sharif to seven years and 10 years in prison in two cases filed against him, after he stepped down as prime minister. He returned to Pakistan in October, after four years of self-exile abroad.

Currently, Sharif's political future seems more secure than that of his rival and opponent Imran Khan, who is serving a three-year sentence for corruption in a jail on the outskirts of Rawalpindi. Khan has multiple charges filed against him.

Khan succeeded Sharif as prime minister in the 2018 parliamentary election. The former popular cricket star-turned-politician was ousted in a no-confidence vote in April 2022. He remains Pakistan’s leading opposition figure, and his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party enjoys a large following.

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