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Pakistani court acquits Nawaz Sharif's brother in murder case

Pakistani court acquits Nawaz Sharif's brother in murder case

A Pakistani court acquitted the brother of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Saturday of charges that he ordered police to kill five people in 1998.
Shahbaz Sharif was the chief minister, or top elected official, in the eastern province of Punjab when the five men were killed in what their families had said were fake shootouts with police.
The plaintiff's lawyer, Aftab Bajwa, said the families withdrew their accusations Saturday, telling the court they did not want Shahbaz Sharif to be tried.
Bajwa would not say why the families withdrew their complaint. The relatives also refused to give an explanation.
Bajwa said now that Sharif has been acquitted, he cannot be tried again.
The surprising turnaround comes as Nawaz Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League-N is in talks with Benazir Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party, which won Feb. 18 parliamentary elections, to form a ruling coalition government.
Pakistan Muslim League-N is also expected to form the government in Punjab after winning the provincial assembly elections there.
Shahbaz Sharif got involved in the murder case in 2001 when the father of two of the victims petitioned the Lahore High Court to have him named as a defendant for allegedly abetting the murders.
The court accepted the petition, and he has been on trial in an anti-terrorism court since 2001. He has denied any involvement.
The police had acknowledged killing the five men, but claimed they were suspected robbers who were shot while trying to flee.
Shahbaz Sharif could not take part in the Feb. 18 election because he was on trial for murder. Following his acquittal, he is eligible to contest a by-election.
Nawaz Sharif was also barred from the election because he was convicted of charges of hijacking and terrorism after being toppled as prime minister in a 1999 coup by Pervez Musharraf, who at the time was the army chief.
He was sentenced to life imprisonment, but was released and sent into exile in Saudi Arabia. He has said the charges were politically motivated.
The two brothers returned home in November after Musharraf stepped down as army chief and became a civilian president, paving the way for general elections.
The Sharifs are now leading a campaign to force Musharraf to step down.


Updated : 2021-07-27 15:08 GMT+08:00