Nawaz Sharif on Trial

Article excerpt

The trial is likely to hang on for quite few months as the appeal will go finally to the Supreme Court. Yet, this much is certain that the conviction has led to the political demise of Nawaz Sharif, who has been on the political arena for the last two decades. In retrospect, one Prime Minister after another has been killed, hanged or dismissed and none has ever been able to complete the tenure of the office with diginity. According to a critic "Do anything but never try to become a prime minister It is in fact the most hazardous job in the country".

April 06, 2000 is memorable in the chequered history of Pakistan when a former Prime Minister was sentenced to life imprisonment, fine and forfeiture of properties on account of terrorism and hijacking of Colombo-Karachi flight PK-805 on Oct 12, 1999. Nawaz Sharif was convicted under section 402-(b) PPC(hijacking) and fined Rs. 500,000. His entire property was confiscated. He was also convicted under section 7 (II) of Anit-terrorism Act (terrorism) for life imprisonment and fined Rs. 500,000 alongwith forfeiture of his entire property. He has to pay a compensation of Rs. 2. million to all passengers on board the aircraft, to boot. Six other accused were ordered to be released, if not needed in any other case

The decision was not unexpected as the prosecutation had provided sufficient evidence. Yet, it is an irony of fate that Nawaz Sharif was convicted by an anti-terrorist court which he himself set up to combat terrorism. Both the prosecution and defence have filed appeals in Sindh High Court. The prosecution wants maximum punishment (death) for the accused as well as for those who were not convicted. On the other hand, defence counsel has appealed for the acquittal of Nawaz Sharif. The trial is likely to hang on for quite few months as the appeal will go finally to the Supreme Court. Yet, this much is certain that the conviction has led to the political demise of Nawaz Sharif, who has been on the political arena for the last two decades. In retrospect, one Prime Minister after another has been killed, hanged or dismissed and none has ever been able to complete the tenure of the office with diginity. According to a critic "Do anything but never try to become a prime minister. It is in fact the most hazardous jo b in the country". Has anyone of us mulled on this tragedy as to what has been the underlying causes and implications in order to pre-empt it? If we have to live honourably in the comity of nations, we must improve our image. …