Pakistani court gives life sentence to political leader ahead of elections

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ISLAMABAD –A court in Pakistan gave life jail term to a senior leader of Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) party of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif late Saturday over his alleged involvement in misuse of controlled chemicals. 

Hanif Abbasi,a former member of the parliament, was also contesting election for a National Assembly seat in the city of Rawalpindi near the country's capital city of Islamabad in the upcoming polls. 

Officials of the Anti Narcotics Force (ANF), which had charged Abbasi, arrested him from the court room as the judge delivered the guilty verdict around 11:00 p.m. The verdict was earlier scheduled to be announced in the day time but was delayed until late Saturday. 

The ANF had accused Abassi of misusing 500 kg controlled chemical ephedrine, which he had obtained for his pharmaceutical company in 2010. But instead of using it in medicine he allegedly sold it to narcotics smugglers, according to the charges. 

The Control of Narcotics Substances (CNS) court of Rawalpindi had indicted Abbasi and his brother, distributor and several employees of his company. 

The ANF had registered a case against Abbasi and his accomplices in June, 2012 under provisions of the CNS Act. 

The judge acquitted seven other accused in the case over lack of evidence against them. 
The conviction Abbasi came just three days before the parliamentary elections, which is seen as another setback for the PML-N party. 

PML-N activists, who were inside the court's premises, chanted slogans in favor of Abbasi, who was one of the close confidants of Nawaz Sharif. Enditem 


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