Lahore: Deposed Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif has returned to jail to serve his sentence in a corruption case after the end of his six-week bail which was granted to him on medical grounds. On 26 March, the Supreme Court suspended Sharif's seven-year sentence in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills corruption case and granted him bail for six weeks with a condition that he would not leave Pakistan.
Last month, the 69-year-old three-time prime minister sought the apex court's permission to go abroad for medical treatment. However, the permission was not granted. Last week, Sharif left his Jati Umra residence for the Kot Lakhpat Jail with a procession of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) workers led by his daughter Maryam. The supporters gathered outside Sharif's residence and accompanied him to jail. The procession took four hours to reach the jail, which is otherwise just 30 minutes away. The bail expired on 7 May.
"I do not have words to thank the workers who turned up in thousands to express solidarity. It is midnight but the workers are still here with me. It is an amazing scene," he said in a message. A large number of party workers from different parts of Punjab province also turned up to participatein the procession.
Sharif's daughter Maryam accompanied her father in his car. Amidst sloganeering in support of Sharif, party workers were seen showering rose petals at his car. “The people know why I am being punished. What sin I have committed... they know. But I am optimistic that soon the black night of this oppression will end and I will get released from jail,” said sharif. Though Sharif was to reach jail before midnight, he reported half-an-hour late. The Punjab Home Department directed the jail authorities to receive Sharif and shift him to the barrack, officials said.
Sharif has been serving a seven-year prison term at the jail since 24 December, 2018 when an accountability court convicted him in one of the three corruption cases filed in the wake of the apex court's 28 July, 2017 order in Panama Papers case. Sharif and his family have denied any wrongdoing and allege that the corruption cases against them were politically motivated.