Medical Management

Former Pakistani Prime Minister, Family File Appeals

Former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has appealed his 10-year prison sentence. His daughter and political heir, Maryam, and his son-in-law Mohammad Safdar have also appealed their convictions.

The appeals were filed Monday with the Islamabad High Court.

Authorities in Pakistan swiftly arrested Sharif and Maryam after the two landed in the eastern city of Lahore on a commercial flight from Britain Friday.

The arrest was made in connection with a recent verdict from an anti-corruption court. Sharif and his daughter were sentenced in absentia to 10 years and seven years in prison respectively for failing to explain how they acquired expensive properties in London.

Safdar was given a one-year sentence for failing to cooperate with the National Accountability Bureau and for aiding and abetting Sharif and Maryam.

Legal experts say without surrendering to authorities, Sharif would have not been eligible to appeal the verdict.

Tens of thousands of supporters and leaders of Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party flooded the streets in Lahore all day Friday in anticipation of the arrest of their leader. They also intermittently clashed with riot police in parts of the capital of the country's most populous province of Punjab.

The provincial government beefed up security ahead of Sharif's arrival in Lahore and detained scores of protesters in their bid to deter massive gatherings near the airport and prevent them from creating law and order problems, officials said.

Sharif had denounced the verdict as politically motivated and accused a covert military-judiciary alliance of trying to keep him out of politics and undermining the integrity of his PML-N party to enable alliance favorites to win Pakistan's national elections on July 25.

PML-N candidates have also alleged Pakistan's intelligence agency, ISI, is pressuring and intimidating them to switch loyalties and contest the polls as independents.

A spokesman for Pakistan's Independent Election Commission, which oversights the polls, urged candidates Thursday to come forward to register complaints if they are being intimidated.

The army has strongly rejected charges it is meddling in the democratic process, or muzzling the media, to rig the polls in favor of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, led by sports celebrity-turned-politician Imran Khan.

"We don't have a political party. We don't have a loyalty, the army spokesman said earlier this week. Major-General Asif Ghafoor also dismissed suggestions his institution is forcing Sharif's supporters to switch parties.

He said the election commission has requested that the army assist in organizing a fair and free election on July 25 and more than 370,000 troops are being deployed at polling stations around Pakistan to achieve the objective.

Khan, who has been leading legal battles and demanding Sharif's accountability through street protests, denies his party is colluding with the military.

Source: Voice of America