Former Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif Given 10-year Jail Term for Corruption
Sharif, who denies wrongdoing, on Wednesday appealed to the courts to delay the judgment while he is in London tending his wife, who is being treated for cancer.
File photo of Nawaz Sharif (Image: AP)
Islamabad: Ousted Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been sentenced to 10 years in jail while his daughter Maryam Nawaz has been sentenced to seven years in an anti-corruption case related to the ownership of luxurious London properties.
Accountability Court-I Judge Mohammad Bashir handed down the sentence on Wednesday after several delays. Nawaz's son-in-law Capt (retd) Safdar was also given a one-year sentence. While Nawaz has been slapped with a fine of 8 million pounds, his daughter will have to cough up two million pounds as penalty.
Sharif on Wednesday appealed to the courts to delay the judgment while he is in London tending his wife, who is being treated for cancer. But the petition was dismissed by the court.
The court also ruled that the Avenfield apartments of the Sharif family, in their possession since 1993, shall be seized by the federal government.
The verdict comes a year after the National Accountability Bureau filed a case in the accountability court against the Sharifs, including his sons Hussain, Hassan, daughter Maryam and son-in-law Muhammad Safdar.
Then finance minister Ishq Dar was also named in the case. The references filed included those relating to four properties in Avenfield - flats no 16, 16-A, 17, 17-A, Avenfield House, Park Lane in London.
The London properties were mentioned in the Panama Papers. The bureau filed the cases saying that the properties were bought with illegitimate money. The leaked Panama documents showed that the flats were owned by shell companies registered in popular tax haven British Virgin Islands and that Maryam and Hussain used assets from those companies to take a loan, worth about 7 million pounds from Deutsche Bank.
In May earlier this year, Sharif recorded his statement and his daughter denied any role in the ownership of the flats and the shell companies.
In June, the NAB prosecutor told the court that Nawaz was the actual owner of the flats and the same month, Nawaz’s counsel withdrew from the case after the Supreme Court that the trial needed to be completed in a month.
The decision, just weeks before the country heads to the polls on July 25, comes at a time of intensifying allegations of military meddling in politics and media claims that the press is being muzzled.
Sharif has a history of differences with the military, which has ruled the nuclear-armed country for almost half of its history, and ousted him from power in 1999 in a bloodless coup.
Since his removal by the Supreme Court in July 2017, Sharif has argued that the military establishment, aided by top members of the judiciary, is using a series of cases against him and others in his party to tip the scales in favour of cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan.
Sharif, 67, resigned in July after the Supreme Court disqualified him from holding office over an undeclared source of income, but the veteran leader maintains his grip on the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party.
Khan is running on a socially conservative, anti-corruption platform. He denies colluding with the military establishment and praises the disqualifications and prosecutions of PML-N figures as a long-needed crackdown on graft.
Last month, former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was barred from running in his home constitutency by the election commission. The ban was later overturned.
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