In a major blow to former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan’s Accountability court today sentenced former him to 10 years in jail in connection with one of the three corruption cases against him in the Panama Papers scandal. The court also sentenced his daughter Maryam to seven years in jail while his son-in-law Captain (retd) Safdar was awarded a one-year jail term by the court.
Sharif is currently in London attending to his wife who is diagnosed with throat cancer. The verdict was delivered behind closed doors by Accountability court judge Mohammad Bashir.
The court order today virtually shuts the door on any hopes that Nawaz may have had from the upcoming elections in the country. Following the court’s verdict, Sharif can’t contest the elections.
The court delivered the verdict after postponing it for four times in the Avenfield corruption case. The case pertains to the purchase of four flats in Avenfield House, Park Lane, London. The case was among three others filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) following a Supreme Court’s order last year that had disqualified Sharif from the office of PM.
The court also slapped 8 million pounds (USD 10 million) fine on Sharif (68). His daughter was fined 2 million pounds (USD 2.6 million). According to a Dawn report, Maryam was also awarded one year jail term for non-cooperation but the punishment will run concurrently which means she will have to serve a jail term of 7 years.
The Dawn report said that Sharif family — the former PM himself, Maryam, Hassan and Hussain along with former Finance minister Ishaq Dar were watching the news report on television at their Avenfield flats in London. Captain (retd) Safdar is Pakistan but he was not present inside the courtroom when the verdict was delivered.
Meanwhile, Maryam has tweeted: “This is a very small punishment for firmly standing in front of unseen forces. The morale to fight against oppression has increased today.”
The ousted PM and his daughter had yesterday moved an application seeking deferment of the delivery of the verdict by a week citing poor health of Nawaz Sharif’s wife Kulsoon.
Meanwhile, Sharif’s party PML(N) has rejected the judgment saying there is no logic behind the court’s verdict.
Three-time Prime Minister Sharif was forced to vacate his office last year when the Supreme Court disqualified him from holding public office and directed that graft cases be filed against him and his family members in view of the revelations made in the Panama Papers.