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Former PM of Pakistan Sentenced to Jail For 7 Years

In a series of tweets, Sharif's daughter Maryam, again in a veiled reference to the powerful military institution, said Monday her father is being punished for resisting "unseen forces."

Former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif (C) leaves the Supreme Court building after the shrine land case hearing in Islamabad, Dec. 4, 2018. Sharif was sentenced, Dec. 24, 2018, to seven years in prison for corruption.

An anti-corruption court in Pakistan sentenced former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to seven years in prison for owning assets beyond his known sources of income.

Sharif, 68, was present inside the courtroom in Islamabad and was arrested shortly after the judge announced the verdict on two corruption cases against him.

The ruling noted that the three-time ex-prime minister failed to disclose the source of income for establishing a steel mill in Saudi Arabia. But the accountability court acquitted Sharif in the second case, citing a lack of “enough” evidence. He was additionally punished by a fine of about $25 million and disqualified from politics for 10 years.

Sharif is accused of building foreign assets while in power. He again denied any wrongdoing before appearing in the court Monday.

“I have done nothing that would force me to bow my head and have always served the country and this nation with absolute honesty,” the former prime minister said.

Scores of party workers and activists were also present outside the judicial complex in the Pakistani capital and they briefly clashed with police. Sharif’s opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party denounced the judgement and vowed to challenge it in a higher court.

Ousted Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif appears with his daughter Maryam at a news conference at a hotel in London, Britain, July 11, 2018.

Senior PML-N leader, former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, told reporters outside the court that the verdict will not be acceptable to the people of Pakistan because “they have punished him in a false case.”

Sharif was serving his third stint as prime minister when the Supreme Court ousted him from office in July 2017 for not declaring in election nomination papers a salary he was receiving from a foreign-based company owned by his son.

Separately, Sharif was sentenced to 11 years in prison last July by the same accountability court in connection with expensive apartments his family owned in London. He was released on bail in September pending an appeal after a court suspended his punishment.

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Sharif’s daughter, political heir Maryam Nawaz, and son-in-law, Mohammad Safdar, were also convicted in the case and freed on bail. Sharif’s two sons, residing in Britain, were declared absconders by the court for failing to appear in the trial.

Details of Sharif and his family’s foreign properties were contained in the so-called Panama Papers, financial documents made public in 2015 that show how the world’s richest hide their money.

In a series of tweets, Sharif’s daughter Maryam, again in a veiled reference to the powerful military institution, said Monday her father is being punished for resisting “unseen forces.” (VOA)

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Burn Modi’s effigy, But do not Burn Public Property: PM Narendra Modi

Hate Modi but don't burn public properties, says PM Narendra Modi

Narendra Modi
In his speech, PM Narendra Modi said that people should not burn public property. Wikimedia Commons

In a sharp response to the violent protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said during his speech at Ramlila ground on Sunday: “Burn Modi’s effigy, but do not burn public property”.

“Hate me if you want to, but don’t hate India. Burn my effigy, but don’t burn a poor man’s auto-rickshaw,” Modi said during his over-an-hour-long speech.

Modi began his speech with a a new slogan: “Vividhta me ekta, Bharat ki visheshta (unity in diversity is India’s essence) to the cheering crowds.

He blamed political propaganda that triggered arson and burning of public properties.

Modi said his government provided land ownership to 40 lakh people of 1,731 unauthorised colonies in Delhi. He said over 1,700 colonies have been demarcated and added that the maps for 1,200 colonies are ready.

PM Modi
PM Modi warned the public saying, ” Hate me if you want to but don’t hate India.”. Wikimedia Commons

Attacking the so-called urban naxals, the PM said they were spreading rumours that all Muslims would be sent to detention centres. “These are all lies. Respect education,” he said.

Earlier, Delhi BJP Chief Manoj Tiwari welcomed the Prime Minister and thanked him for regularization of the unauthorised colonies in the national capital.

Calling the Prime Minister a ‘messiah’ of the poor, Tiwari said BJP never goes back on its promises.

Tiwari said Delhi also needs a government of the BJP at least for five years. He chanted Modi’s name to draw cheers from the crowd.

Union MInister Prakash Javadekar said, ” Delhi will go to the polls in the next 45 days. I see BJP coming to power with a full majority.”

“What do you want — development or destruction, nationalism or anarchy, anti-national slogans raised in JNU (Jawaharlal Nehru University) or those who would end such activities?” said Javadekar.

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Member of Parliament from New Delhi, Minakshi Lekhi said, “We are not here to make India a ‘Hindu Rashtra’, but to keep the essence of Hindustan.” She accused opposition parties of using students against the Citizenship Amendment Act.

Hansraj Hans, another MP from Delhi, showered praise on the PM and sang a song. (IANS)