DATE=3/20/2000 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=PAKISTAN - SHARIF TRIAL (L) NUMBER=2-260367 BYLINE=AYAZ GUL DATELINE=ISLAMABAD INTERNET=YES CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: Prosecutors in the case against Pakistan's former prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, said Monday that they plan to seek the death penalty if he is convicted. Mr. Sharif and six others are charged with kidnapping, hijacking and attempted murder for their roles in the alleged diversion of a plane the night Pakistan's military seized control. From Islamabad, Ayaz Gul reports. TEXT: The prosecution sought the death penalty for Pakistan's former prime minister as it began final arguments in the special anti-terrorism court in Karachi (Monday). Chief prosecutor Raja Quereshi argued that the prosecution has proved its hijacking case against Mr. Sharif and the anti-terrorism law requires "maximum punishment" for the offense. He said the court will have to give a reason for awarding a lesser punishment. The prosecution has two more days to wrap up the case. The defense is expected to make its closing arguments later this week. Mr. Sharif, his brother Shahbaz and five others are accused of having endangered the lives of the army chief General Pervez Musharraf and 200 others on board a plane on October 12 by trying to prevent the aircraft from landing in Pakistan. The plane, which was running dangerously low on fuel, eventually landed at Karachi airport after the military seized power. Mr. Sharif says he is not guilty of the charges against him and that the evidence against him is fabricated. The prosecution's call for the death penalty follows remarks by U-S officials that President Clinton, when he visits Pakistan later this week, will urge Pakistani leaders to spare Nawaz Sharif's life if he is convicted. (Signed) NEB/AG/KL 20-Mar-2000 10:24 AM EDT (20-Mar-2000 1524 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .
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