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2-min read

Pakistan Court Gives Life Sentence to Nawaz Sharif Aide, Candidature for July 25 Polls Cancelled

Hanif Abbasi, a senior Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader, was convicted by the Control of Narcotics Substances Court of Rawalpindi and sentenced to life in the case related to misuse of controlled chemical ephedrine.

PTI

Updated:July 22, 2018, 8:19 PM IST
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Pakistan Court Gives Life Sentence to Nawaz Sharif Aide, Candidature for July 25 Polls Cancelled
Hanif Abbasi, a nominated candidate of Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz (PML-N) party for upcoming election, is seen in Islamabad, Pakistan.REUTERS
Islamabad: A leading PML-N candidate for the July 25 general elections was arrested and sent to Adiala jail after he was convicted by a court and handed down life imprisonment in a six-year old case, in a telling blow to jailed former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

Hanif Abbasi, a senior Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader, was convicted by the Control of Narcotics Substances Court of Rawalpindi and sentenced to life in the case related to misuse of controlled chemical ephedrine.

Abbasi, a close aide of Sharif, was arrested from the court on Saturday and taken to the same Adiala Jail where the PML-N supremo is held.

The Election Commission of Pakistan on Sunday announced that elections in the NA-60 Rawalpindi constituency will be held after the completion of the general polls.

The ECP is "bound to provide a level playing field to all candidates" and keeping in mind the heated debate in the media and by leaders of politicl parties, the commission has decided to postpone the elections in NA-60, it said.

The preparations for the general elections were in their final stages and ballot papers were printed with Abbasi's election symbol on them, the ECP said.

Abbasi was contesting the elections against Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rashid who had regularly predicted in his speeches that Abbasi would be disqualified.

"Abbasi was involved in the drug trade and he should face the results," Rashid said, commenting on the verdict.

The court acquitted seven other accused in the case while giving them the benefit of doubt.

PML-N protested against the conviction and said it will challenge it.

The ephedrine case surfaced in March 2011 when the then federal minister Makhdoom Shahabuddin told the National Assembly that the government would investigate the allocation of 9,000 kg of ephedrine to pharmaceutical companies.

The Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) registered a case against nine suspects, including Abbasi, in June 2012.

Abbasi was charged of misusing 500-kg of the controlled chemical ephedrine which he obtained for his company Gray Pharmaceutical in 2010.
He allegedly sold it to smugglers instead of using it as medicine.

Those absolved of charges included the son of former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, Ali Musa Gilani, and former health minister Makhdoom Shahabuddin.

The conviction might further vitiate elections atmosphere which is already highly charged due to imprisonment of Sharif and his daughter in a corruption case.

Sharif's son-in-law retired Capt Muhammad Safdar was also disqualified from contesting polls after being convicted in Avenflied properties case.
(Get detailed and live results of each and every seat in the Lok Sabha elections and state Assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim to know which candidate/party is leading or trailing and to know who has won and who has lost and by what margin. Our one-of-its-kind Election Analytics Centre lets you don a psephologist’s hat and turn into an election expert. Know interesting facts and trivia about the elections and see our informative graphics. Elections = News18)
| Edited by: Naqshib Nisar
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