02 March, 2021

Courting Isolation

Should his appeal against the life sentence fail, Nawaz Sharif could also lose his hold on the PML

Courting Isolation

The verdict was predictable. In fact, Karachi bookies had placed incredibly high odds against him being awarded the death sentence. Which is perhaps why former prime minister Nawaz Sharif managed to keep a straight face when anti-terrorist court (ATC) judge Rehmat Hussain Jaffrey read out the life imprisonment sentence for him on the morning of April 6.

But the political impact of the verdict may soon bring the furrows back onto Sharif’s brow. For one, unless the civilian courts overturn the judgement, Sharif is going to spend a long time in jail. Recognising this, his Pakistan Muslim League (PML) is already showing signs of a split. The fact that the party decided to skip even token street protests following the judgement speaks for itself.

Nawaz’s brother and former chief minister of Punjab province, Shahbaz Sharif, and five other accused were acquitted by the court, though they may not be freed soon in the light of other cases pending against them. All of them were charged with hijacking, terrorism and kidnapping for trying to prevent the landing of Airbus...

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