Tuesday, 19 February, 2019

Pakistan court gives 10-year jail to Sharif in 1st corruption case

Nawaz and Maryam outside the court premises this year Nawaz and Maryam outside the court premises this year
Patty Aguilar | 06 July, 2018, 23:08

Amid tight security, the court delivered the much-anticipated verdict after postponing it for five times during the day in the Avenfield corruption case - pertaining to the ownership of four flats in the posh Avenfield House in London.

Sharif, who was ousted as prime minister past year for corruption, was also fined $8m by the National Accountability Bureau court.

Both Sharif and his daughter were in London on Friday with Sharif's wife, Kulsoom, who is being treated there for cancer and is in a coma after suffering a heart attack last month.

Pakistan People's Party (PPP)'s senior leader Khursheed Shah on Friday remarked that the verdict to the Avenfield reference has been declared at the wrong time.

Maryam Nawaz and her husband stand barred from contesting the July 25 election from Lahore and Mansehra respectively.

Throughout the case, they and their political supporters have cast the allegations as part of a campaign to discredit the former premier - allegedly led by Pakistan's army, which has made little secret of its dislike for Sharif.

The verdict is being seen as a potentially significant boost for PTI. "The morale to fight against oppression has increased today".

The court dismissed applications by lawyers of the defendants on Thursday seeking a seven-day delay in announcing the verdict.

The sentence, 10 years in prison and a fine of 8 million pounds, or $10.6 million, came nearly a year after Supreme Court removed Sharif from office and less than five months after the court barred him from holding office for life. "All of this is not new for your Nawaz Sharif, he has faced exile, disqualification, and life imprisonment (sentence) in the past".

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The court had ordered the properties be confiscated by the federal government. The fine money will go into the state treasury. "It is a victory of the NAB prosecution", Abbasi said.

He said that he was the first person who raised his voice against corruption, and protested outside the Sharif family's Mayfair flats in 1998.

Maryam Nawaz, daughter of ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

He said Sharif made Pakistan a nuclear power by rejecting global pressures and served this country.

Now both Sharif and his daughter are in London tending to Kulsoom, who is critically ill.

Khan was a driving force behind Sharif's downfall, seizing on the 2016 Panama Papers' revelations that the then-prime minister's family had bought the London apartments using offshore companies.

Rasheed even said, "They expect those people to come out to whom they didn't even provide basic facilities".

In addition to the sentencing, Sharif and Maryam have been fined £8 million and £2 million respectively.

. Abbasi said, "At a stage when the court concludes the trial and fixes a date for the final announcement, the accused can not file application for any relief".

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