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Thursday, 13 April, 2000, 14:19 GMT 15:19 UK
Nawaz Sharif: Was it a fair verdict?

Nawaz Sharif - deposed in a military coup last year - has been sent to prison for life on hijacking and terrorism charges.

The judge also ruled that he should forfeit his property, and pay compensation to those on board the plane he attempted to stop landing in Karachi.

Mr Sharif escaped the death penalty, which the prosecution had demanded. But he faces spending the next 25 years in jail which would mean the end of his political career. His six co-defendants, including Mr Sharif's brother, were all acquitted.

Was it a fair verdict?

Tell us what you think.

HAVE YOUR SAY

Pakistan is blighted by a profound inner crisis. Its corruption starts at the top and filters all the way down to the bottom.

Nadim Bakhshov, United Kingdom
Pakistan is blighted by a profound inner crisis. Its corruption starts at the top and filters all the way down to the bottom. Politicians surround themselves with cronies, the police are riddled with internal corruption and the populace is caught up in a religion of money. Everywhere you go and at every strata of society bribery is at work. It is appalling. I would like to feel that Nawaz Sharif will serve his sentence.
Nadim Bakhshov, United Kingdom

I believe it was fair and the judiciary in Pakistan should show the same sort of expedition in other cases of the poor people as well so that the rightful ones get easy justice at their doorsteps.
Rafiq Sayani, Pakistan

A lesson to other corrupt politicians who have given the mandate to lead others. However, the civilised society should discourage the Generals to hijack the democratically elected governments.
Adrian K.M. Nyengella, Tanzania

Pakistan is a backward country because of corrupt, discriminatory, mental, anti-minority group politicians like Sharif and Bhutto. These politicians first think about themselves and not about the poor or needy.
Saif, Australia



The trial was fair and a very justified decision was given by the judge.

Jawad Ahmed, Pakistan
The trial was fair and a very justified decision was given by the judge. Nawaz should also be tried against corruption charges and if found guilty, should be exemplary punished.
Jawad Ahmed, Pakistan

Although the Trial may be put under a spotlight, I believe he deserved it. He tried to stop General's aircraft landing and a corrupt man. Pakistani people deserve honest people in administration not those who steal from the poor people.
Nuri, Turkey

Nawaz Sharif was not elected by 140million people as is suggested by a reader. The turnout for the elections was less than 20% when Nawaz Sharif wes elected. In any other democratic country the elections would have been nullified.
Zahoor, UK

In a country that is struggling to create its niche and stronghold in the international community, I think the current government should be congratulated for its efforts, no matter how abysmal the result. At least there has been some "attempt" to convict the wrong doers. It is high time the Pakistani people get a decent government who are not embroiled in "revenge" on the previous governments etc and are more concerned about Pakistan's future, which ultimately should be given utmost importance.
Somi, UK

Its useless to comment on the fairness of this trial as it was conducted as fairly as it should have been, not that the defendant deserved a fair trial. Sharif over the years has stayed in power robbed the people of Pakistan and of what they rightly owned
Andy Smith, UK



The General should not be seen to be pursuing a politic of vengeance

Rasheed Ahmed, USA
The General should not be seen to be pursuing a politic of vengeance rather he should take solace in the fact that majority of his people are solidly behind him. His energy and that of his lieutenants should therefore be directed towards wrestling the economy of his country from the brim of collapse and uplifting the standard of living of the people.
Rasheed Ahmed, USA

Justice was served. A man who played with the emotions of a nation was put behind bars. It gave credibility to justice in Pakistan. Criticism is uncalled for, for Pakistan. India is no better, a democracy in name and a playground for corruption in truth. Both are one and the same. It is just Pakistan's bad luck that we have not seen a sincere ruler for decades now.
Sher Afgan, USA

I think Nawaz Sharif and all his teams of advisors should face trial for looting the country. Thanks to Musharraf that he has started nabbing corrupt politicians one after the other; trial was fair as Nawaz and his lawyers themselves indicated their confidence in the court. So why cry now? Just file appeal. Maybe you will get real sentence from a higher court.
Abid Abubakar, US

The trial was a joke in the name of justice. Everybody knows Pakistan's judiciary is a puppet of its rulers no matter who rules country. It was a mockery that ATC decided the fate of Nawaz Sharif.
Srikrishan, USA

No questions, the trial was 100% fair.
Ishtiaq, USA



Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Arif Malik, USA
Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely. Nawaz Sharif deserves to be behind bars, if not for hijacking then for corruption. With the majority in Parliament he had, he could have implemented land/political/economic reforms and put the country on the path to economic prosperity. The present Pakistani Government should tell the world that " Let us deal with our problems ourselves and please don't interfere in our country's internal matters".
Arif Malik, USA

Pakistan is a primitive nation which is yet to understand the merits of Democracy. Between becoming a respected democracy like India or a medieval theocracy like Afghanistan, it is clearly choosing the latter. So the standards for judging the trial should be against the Taleban model. I think the trial was very fair by those standards. Nawaz Sharif was not stoned to death or his hands cut off for 'stealing' from the country.
Mike Brompton, UK

How can the trail be "fair"? A lot of people seem to have forgotten the fact that Nawaz Sharif's main defence lawyer met an untimely death, and how convenient for the Musharaf Regime. Musharaf is as guilty as Sharif if not more. Under International Aviation Law, the definition of "HIJACKING" is the illegal control of an aviation vehicle by persons or groups who are on board the aircraft.
People should open their eyes and think before they type. The charges were hyped up.
Syed Kazam Bokhari, United Kingdom



He will be out as soon as the government will change.

Rehan Ahmed, UK
Does it make any difference if it was fair trial or not. He will be out as soon as the government will change. After all corruption is at the heart of political affairs....
Rehan Ahmed, UK

This was a mock trial. There was not enough proof that this was a hijacking.
Raisul Alam Khan, Bangladesh

For the last 50 years or so the political parties in Pakistan are playing with the emotions of the people. This verdict will surely set an example for them.
Obaid Khan,

Nawaz Sharif got what he deserved. It should be a lesson to the others. Pakistan army is a saviour. Now it should clean the house and bring back the democracy.
Mahmood Alvi, USA



Nawaz Sharif ceased to be legitimate Prime Minister of Pakistan when he organised the storming of the Supreme Court in 1998.

Najeeb Khan, Canada
Nawaz Sharif ceased to be legitimate Prime Minister of Pakistan when he organised the storming of the Supreme Court in 1998. The Supreme Court was in session with the Chief Justice of Pakistan presiding. The case being processed would have disqualified Nawaz Sharif from holding public office. Instead of permitting the rule of law to follow its course, Nawaz Sharif took the law in his own hands to maintain hold on power. His mis-governance continued unabated until he trapped himself by ordering that Musharraf's plane be refused landing at its normal destination. This was probably the proverbial 'last straw'. If he had allowed the plane to land normally, in all likelihood none of this would have happened.
Najeeb Khan, Canada

Musharraf should be tried for hijacking the government. Trial would have been fair if all 7 would have been convicted.
Ali, U.S.A

The decision would be "fair" if the hijacking Sharif Brothers were also banned from re-entering into politics, and if Ms. Bhutto was also sentenced to serve a life sentence with Mr. Sharif. There were more than 200 death sentences in Texas last year. Why did Mr. Clinton not set them free?
Shahid Parvez, USA



A seriously prejudiced proceeding of the already eroded justice system of Pakistan.

Mehmood, USA
A seriously prejudiced proceeding of the already eroded justice system of Pakistan. Moreover instead of any charges of worthwhile nature, a hurriedly reactionary stance of Mussaharf to justify Mussharraf own coup, all appears childish and poor masses have to bear the brunt of Rogue generals like Mussharaf and corrupt politicians like Benazir and Nawaz Sharif.
Mehmood, USA

It was not a fair trail. Pakistan must learn what democracy means. The history of Pakistan is a sad story. The army dictator needs to be punished for his crime to overthrow the elected government of the people. Pakistan will not get any respect from any one if the people do not get their act together. Mr. Sharif should be freed and the army ruler put behind bars for life.
V. R. N. Sharma, USA

Democracy is a by-product of several factors - all of which do not exist yet in Pakistan. Nawaz Sharif is not a democratically elected leader- he was a demagogue who used the spectre of democracy, like all his predecessors. The technicalities of the trial seem inconsequential given the inevitable verdict; this man deserves infinite life sentences for the amount of money he and his cronies have siphoned off from the treasury to fund their own international development projects.
M Jaffery, USA

Those worried about the fair trial of Nawaz Sharif have obviously forgotten the "constructive" steps he took for "strengthening" the same judicial system. Do these people really believe that he cared about the judicial system during his tenure?
Sher Khan, Pakistan

All I wanted to say is that whatever happened is good for Pakistan. After the verdict, Nawaz Sharif said that "There is no justice in Pakistan and that his case now rests with God." Well I just want to remind him that was there justice in Pakistan when he was the Prime Minister.
Peace, Canada



Wake up people we have been once again fooled and invaded by an intruder.

Gohar Latif, Pakistan
A person elected by 140 million population is suddenly overthrown by a soldier saying that the elected Prime Minister has put the country's fortune at stake by hatching a conspiracy is beyond imagination. It was Nawaz Sharif who elected him as COA staff. The trial would have been fair had both the COA staff and the Prime Minister been put before the court. The Chief Justice of Pakistan had been on the seat of CEO. Wake up people we have been once again fooled and invaded by an intruder.
Gohar Latif, Pakistan

No, the trial was not fair. Mr Sharif was not given to speak. He acted responsibly not revealing Pakistan's secrets The judge was alone and under heavy pressure to give Mr Sharif punishment so that Army ruler can hide their shameful face. The general is so uncivilised and un-Islamic that he forced Six senior most judges of the supreme court including Chief Justice to go for early retirement if they did not favour the retired General.
Salvi, USA

Fair trial in Pakistan "I cannot say it was" but I do believe that Nawaz Sharif's Government was corrupt but all the blame cannot be put down on the Prime Minister. We must do something but corruption is in our blood and it is not possible to get rid of it by one man whether it is Nawaz Sharif or any of the Army Generals. Good luck Pakistan.
Basharat Khan, United Kingdom

The sentence is probably fair but not for the charges concocted against him. Nawaz is guilty of not pushing the democracy in the direction that would empower the common people. He used the trust and the power for his personal agenda. Sadly that charge could be levelled against most leadership of Pakistan's history and that of many other developing countries.
Vinod Dawda, UK

Nawaz Sharif took power to his head and forgot that Pakistan is not his fiefdom, but a nation with an intelligent electorate and intolerance for injustice. Hence, when he totally disregarded the welfare of the passengers of a national airline, just to ensure for his person all benefit, that the Chief of army staff was surreptitiously removed, he lost the trust of the nation, the people and his right to be a Prime Minister. The verdict reflects the mood of the public and the greater intolerance of the nation's electorate to allow corrupt and self-serving politician's to get away with it.
K Ahmed, England

It would have been a fair trial if Nawaz Sharif got life sentence on corruption instead of this childish hijacking charges.
Bhavesh Patel, India/USA



I don't think the people of Pakistan should suffer any more because of the whims and fancies of one individual.

Azhar Malik MD, USA/Pakistan
The trial may not have been fair, but ultimately some form of justice was done. An "elected" Prime Minister subjected his country and people to crisis after crisis. I don't think the people of Pakistan should suffer any more because of the whims and fancies of one individual. Democracy means government of the people, and if the people of Pakistan are satisfied by this decision, the rest of the world should respect that.
Azhar Malik MD, USA/Pakistan

The whole affair is fishy. How can there be justice, when the Parliament is suspended and the Judiciary has to swear an oath of allegiance to a military dictator? I believe the whole drama was played out to give legitimacy to the military dictatorship. I hope the Pakistani people wake up from their stupor and take a look at the worsening situation in their country. I believe these incidents are a lesson to any democratic country, particularly India, that subverting due process of moral and constitutional law, for any purpose is wrong and totally unjustified, and will only compound the errors committed.
Rama Narendran, USA

No I don't think it was a fair trial he should be given a chance to prove himself
BINA,

It is a 'Justified Verdict.' And Sharif deserves the same. Hijackers should be punished whosoever they are!
Muhammad Ali Nadeem, United Kingdom



Sharif's life has been spared in order to avoid more sanctions and embargoes.

RamBa, India
It is a fitting punishment for Nawaz and a warning for all corrupt politicians (including Indian ones). The Judgement is definitely that of Musharraf, since no Judiciary can have a free hand under dictatorship. Sharif's life has been spared in order to avoid more sanctions and embargoes.
RamBa, India

Sharif's trial was probably not 100% fair. But he had to go, during his political reign the economic life for ordinary Pakistani's was becoming more and more difficult while Sharif and his cronies were seen to be getting richer and richer. Life may not be easier now but at-least its not getting worse. The Military might be a dictatorship but they only replaced a dictatorship masquerading as a democracy.
N. Khan, London, UK

What is so new about what has happened in Pakistan. It was an impending ritual which had to happen one day or the other. When everyone is equally bad, how does one choose the best of the lot. There is no point in pondering over an issue about a bunch of jokers taking their own decisions in the name of justice and democracy.
Shekhar, India



Do any of the world's leaders have a 'totally clean' slate, or record?

Dave Adams, USA
Do any of the world's leaders have a 'totally clean' slate, or record? Do any of them not love money and power? Or, are they all a bunch of hypocrites who try to look too good and to talk to wise?
Dave Adams, USA

The verdict was really political and not fair at all. Though Nawaz has been a shrewd politician this verdict was a biased one and unacceptable. The people who planned the coup should be punished instead.
Chris Roberts, Australia

Acquittal of co-accused proves that the Nawaz's rule was autocratic. He was acting with absolute power just like a dictator without listening to others, not even to his close party members. So it is logical that the court held him as the sole responsible for the hijacking.
Bakht Baidar, France

The tenor of the letters here, the naive unanimity of opinion, the failure to distinguish between intuitive justice (viz. retribution) and due process, and above all the absence of a sense of history are appalling. Have you learned nothing from your own? Read Orwell's "Animal Farm."
Moss David Posner, M.D., United States



What else can be expected from a judiciary that dances to the tune of a dictator?

Dilip, India
The verdict is no surprise, except that his life is spared. What else can be expected from a judiciary that dances to the tune of a dictator? One still wonders how the so-called hijack can be done by a single person that it also the prime minister of a country!
Dilip, India

Nawaz Sharif deserves life sentence. He has amassed wealth at the expense of his poor people and country. A person of enormous wealth, who never paid any tax in his life, speaks how degenerated the political system was in Pakistan. The military rule currently ruling Pakistan should hunt for all corrupt politicians and put them behind bars. Nawaz Sharif was a disgrace to democracy.
Rajamani, Hong Kong

Sharif's competence as a leader is questionable. But the charges and conviction demonstrate beyond a doubt that Pakistani justice is non-existent. Here is a country that deserves to be shunned.
James, USA

I think the trial was fair and the judgement is right, but the question is that what will happen next? He would be out of jail sooner or later, most probably sooner than we expect. Mr. Musharraf will not be there forever. Once he comes out of jail he will again be able to manipulate the innocent people of that country and shall one way or the other, be back in power.
Farrukh, USA

The verdict is no surprise. History has shown over and over again that there is no fair trial under Dictatorship. To blame one person for all the ills of Pakistan is the travesty of Justice System.
Jatin Gupta, Canada



Sharif has finally got what he has deserved all along.

Mohammed Farooq, England
Sharif has finally got what he has deserved all along, that is to rot in prison. It is a shame that Benazir Bhutto and her entourage will not be joining him. This legal decision illustrates that justice has prevailed. Sharif and Benazir Bhutto were undoubtedly the most corrupt and selfish leaders that Pakistan has ever had in power.
Mohammed Farooq, England

The decision is more than fair when one considers that Nawaz Sharif never gave his political opponents the fairness that a fellow human being deserves. I daresay that if the roles were reversed, a death penalty would have ensued.
Stephen B.C. Tan, New Zealand

I don't care if it was a fair trial or not but I am happy that he got what he deserved and the others with him shouldn't have been acquitted of charges.
Ahsan Ansari, USA

The verdict for Nawaz Sharif was fair, however the other co-accused should not have been let off the hook. Nawaz deserved this fate because of his own autocratic behaviour. He and his family should be banned from elections for the rest of their natural life, since they are a bunch of greedy crooks.
Nadeem Mirza, USA

Let's assume the man is corrupt as they come and conspired against the 'Chief' as he calls himself these days but trial and verdict by a 'Kangaroo Court' doesn't look good to the outside world even if the verdict was just and deserving of the person.
Mohan Marette, Kerala (India) & USA



It's hard to jump to any conclusions. It can be argued both ways.

Fawad, Pakistani/USA
It's hard to jump to any conclusions. It can be argued both ways. How can you commit terrorism and hijack a plane if you are not inside it. On the other hand, it can be said that since he was not letting the plane land and later diverted the destination of it from Karachi to Nawabshah, terror was committed and the plane was hijacked.
Fawad, Pakistani/USA

It was a unfair, in the sense that besides Sharif and other six member should have been punished.
Saim Haq, USA

The trial was toned down due to Clinton's visit to Pakistan. Pakistan needs strong and honest government for years to eliminate corruption in politics. I would love to see the same thing happening in India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. If that happens, these south Asian countries will do much better than what they have done so far.
Nasir, USA

It didn't seem to be fair verdict, certainly influenced by government pressure. But who will sympathise for Mr. Sharif, who himself designed and established these anti-terrorist court structure, and who himself allowed an attack on building of Supreme Court of Pakistan.
Asim, Pakistan

The verdict was indeed fair; perhaps it could have been more severe, especially for the co-conspirators in the case. Sharif probably got a break from the judge.
Sarmad Gilani, USA



How can only one person be responsible for the whole episode?

Monirul Q. Mirza, Bangladesh/Canada
The judgement demonstrates that there is no longer any justice in Pakistan. How can only one person be responsible for the whole episode? The charge was engineered by the military regime after the coup in order to put him in a cage.
Gen (Retd.) Musharraf followed the manual of Gen. Ziaul Huq to keep his rival at the bay. However, due to international pressure and domestic compulsions, he was not given death sentence. The judgement was ready even before the charge was framed. This is only possible in a country like Pakistan where the military has put it on the backward direction for many times.
Monirul Q. Mirza, Bangladesh/Canada

In this situation when Pakistan is facing internal and external problems, it is the best decision and it showed that courts have more free hand in a "blamed" army regime compared to so called "democracy" in Pakistan.
I wish that real democratic countries like England, America and Canada should come ahead to give Pakistan a helping hand in catching other thieves of Pakistani wealth like Banazir and Altaf Hussain. I am sure that if those countries want they can make Pakistan a better place.
Faisal Daud, Canada



He ruled Pakistan as if it was his personal property.

Pervez A Khan, USA
Yes, it was a fair decision. I think his biggest crime was betrayal of public trust and committing financial crimes. He ruled Pakistan as if it was his personal property.
Pervez A Khan, USA

I should say it was not at all fair because I think that the judge is on Musharraf's side and this punishment is too much for him - it should be four or five years. He is the father of four children and he should not be kept away from them for such a long time.
Aman, Pakistan

I think the judge was trapped by the unconstitutional government of the army by presenting too many witnesses in the case. So the judge has to give this decision, otherwise the army is the culprit to break the constitution.
Mohammad Arig, Pakistan/Scotland



Those rulers should have been brought to book for their corruption instead of this very childish show.

Syed Shaukat, USA
I think the courts towed the line of the present dictatorial regime and that Nawaz Sharif's wrongdoing, if it was, has been blown out of proportion. There is no doubt though that Mr. Sharif's government was very corrupt and there was a genuine need to get rid of it.
Those rulers should have been brought to book for their corruption instead of this very childish show put on by the present govt. and its "anti terrorist" court.
Syed Shaukat, USA

I don't think the trial was fair. It would have been better for the country if he had been tried and convicted on corruption charges rather than on a case based on personal animosity.
Ismat Sharfi, USA

Nawas Sharif... a hijacker and a terrorist.....uggggh. Too bad he was covicted on charges where he got international sympathy. He should have stood trial on crimes spreading over the period he ruled the country... and these were no small crimes.
Rabia Khan, USA

Suspending an elected government, getting rid of impartial judges, and now this all to legitimise a dictatorship...where is Pakistan headed at?
Altaf Hussain, MD, USA



I don't have a doubt in my mind that he was completely responsible for the plane hijacking.

Omarzai, USA
These courts and judges were appointed by Sharif himself. I really believe he got away easy. I don't have a doubt in my mind that he was completely responsible for the plane hijacking. He ordered others to act on his behalf, and I guess that's the reason others were acquitted. It was completely a transparent trial. He and his "hawaris" were all corrupt and looted the country dry, in his both terms. I really hope that they get all looted money back from him.
Omarzai, USA

Fair? Ever heard of a fair trial under military rule... with the parliament suspended and judiciary fully controlled?????
Aparna, USA

I am glad that it is life sentence and not death sentence. There is hope that once democracy returns somebody will decide it is not necessary to keep Sharif locked up. It is a lesson to heads of states who want to accumulate more power and can't figure out the right way to do it.
Clement Chiwaya, Malawian student in USA



There was no sense in eliminating him and earning a bad name in history.

Aghaata, USA
The crux of the matter is, that if Sharif had been aquatinted, it would have taken away the very foundation stone of the justification for the coup. Secondly, Sharif is not as dangerous for Musharraf as Bhutto could have been for Zia; therefore there was no sense in eliminating him and earning a bad name in history. On the other hand, I believe that Sharif did deserve some punishment for his all over dare devil behaviour.
Aghaata, USA

This was not a fair trial. The verdict was engineered to out through an elected prime minister and to divert the attention of people from the fact the military has overthrown the democratically elected government. The events mentioned in the trial were seriously unfair. It was basically a terrible effort by the illegitimate military government discrediting Pakistani people by convicting prime minister a "terrorist" and a "hijacker".
Awais Yousaf, Australia

I think the trial went OK but acquitting the accomplices was a bad decision and I think they should also have been given some kind of punishment since they all were present at the time of this conspiracy.
Muhammad Afzal, Pakistan

Fair as can be in a country riddled with power corruption and lies.
Ahmed, UK



I would say the proceedings were seriously prejudiced and the judgement should be overturned on appeal.

Simon Cameron, UK
The chief witness for the prosecution was a former co-defendant who turned tail. It was on his say-so, with no other evidence, that Sharif was said to have ordered the plane not to land. However there are more neutral witnesses, some even said to be bona fide prosecution witnesses, who claim that it was Musharraf himself who ordered the pilot not to land, in spite of conflicting instructions from air traffic controllers that he should do so. I would say the proceedings were seriously prejudiced and the judgement should be overturned on appeal.
Simon Cameron, UK

I think the decision is okay and Nawaz Sharif got what he deserved. It also indicates courts in Pakistan are free in their decisions even though there is a military government.
Engr Zulfiqar Ali Tarar, Sweden

It just proves that Pakistan needs a lesson on how a democracy works. If it was a conspiracy how come only Mr Sharif has been sentenced while the others walk away?
Cirvesh, India



The verdict is fair. Mr Sharif had his day in court and the judge found him to be guilty.

Salem Abuzaid, USA
The verdict is fair. Mr Sharif had his day in court and the judge found him to be guilty. Mr Sharif had a chance to do good while he was in office, instead he tried to get rid off all the democratic institutions and increase his power.
Salem Abuzaid, USA

Too bad Nawaz Sharif's six co-defendants were acquitted. I guess it was not a fair trial after all.
Ibrahim Mutefereka, Turkey

The case is of equital and the prosecution has really failed to prove beyond any doubt, which is the prerequisite for the conviction in criminal cases, that Nawaz Sharif has committed the offence of hijacking. The delay in the FIR, the statement of witnesses, the absence of General Musharaf as witness in the case especially when he is said to be the key person on board against whom the conspiracy was prepared, leads us to the conclusion that there is malafide of government in this case and everything was pre-planned and pre-determined. Therefore, I think Nawaz Sharif should be in equitted in this case and this shall happen if the High Court give a fair chance of Appeal to Nawaz Sharif.
Aurangzeb, Pakistan

No, because Musharraf had a lot of foreign pressure on him to go easy on Nawaz Sharif, and economy wise Pakistan can not afford that. He should also stand trial for looting the economy, which I consider as the most important thing of all.
Razas, Canada



How can you expect fairness from a court, which is working under a unlawful Government.

Farooq Qureshi, Canada
No, I do not think this was a fair trial. How can you expect fairness from a court, which is working under a unlawful Government. It is amazing to see these things are happening in the 21st century. I hope people of Pakistan should realise now and reject and focus on real issues, and not to be deceived by these so called rulers. Very sad indeed.
Farooq Qureshi, Canada

I think Nawaz Sharif is a very simple man. He believed in the judge and the judicial proceedings up to the last minute. While any idiot could have thought like him, his senior lawyer Ejaz Batalwi was really very clever to withdraw from the case as he knew the direction of the court. It was just a pre-planned decision imposed on the Judge to deliver today by the Military Ruler. There was no other way for the military.
Tim Makenze, USA

In Pakistan, the judiciary has traditionally towed the line of the rulers, especially military. So, Thursday's verdict is no surprise. Had the international climate been conducive, the judge might have announced a death sentence for Mr Sharif, as had happened in Mr Bhutto's case. Every leader makes mistakes. So did Mr Sharif. But making him a 'terrorist' and a 'hijacker' is going too far.
Ishtiaq Ahmad, Pakistan

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06 Apr 00 | South Asia
Life sentence for Sharif


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