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

Maryam Nawaz outside the Avenfield apartments today. She will hear the verdict with her father and former finance minister Ishaq Dar- Geo News

Maryam Nawaz outside the Avenfield apartments today. She will hear the verdict with her father and former finance minister Ishaq Dar- Geo News

His daughter, Maryam Nawaz Sharif, considered his political heir, was sentenced to seven years in prison and fined $2m.

"The court sentenced Sharif to 10 years rigorous imprisonment and fined eight million pounds (over United States dollars 10 million)".

Court hearings continue pending a decision on the other two corruption references against the Sharifs, but they do not include Nawaz and Awan.

Sharif, 68, is in London with his daughter, Maryam, was convicted after failing to prove a legal source of income for buying several luxury flats in the 1990s.

"In the interest of justice, the announcement of order in the titled reference may be postponed for a minimum of seven days period", the applications by the Sharifs stated. When asked, Sharif mentioned the deteriorating health of his wife as the reason for him not being able to return immediately.

But in the ruling that ousted Mr. Sharif from office past year, the Supreme Court concluded that he and his family members could not adequately explain how they were able to afford the expensive London apartments and that they failed to provide a money trail. Assets in question are four expensive flats in London worth over £200 million.

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"Today's verdict shows that these Avenfield apartments were purchased using corruption money", prosecution lawyer Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi told reporters, citing the name of the apartment building in London.

Islamabad-based accountability court judge Mohammad Bashir pronounced the verdict behind closed doors. The Accountability Court judge sought three extensions from the apex court before completing the probe last week after more than nine months. The former PML-N chief invited the masses to take to the streets in his movement to reclaim the votes. The verdict is further likely to erode ruling PMLN's stocks ahead of the upcoming Pakistan elections this month. According to him, the PML-N had awarded tickets to "political orphans", so he would contest elections as an independent candidate.

The PML-N held a meeting in Lahore to discuss the court ruling and reaction to it.

Addressing a public gathering in Lower Dir on Friday, he said that Nawaz Sharif has gotten what he had done so far, adding that the ex-PM lied to hide his London properties.

The court verdict enraged Sharif's die-hard supporters. "People will always remember this judgment as black and controversial".

If Sharif returns he will be arrested on arrival under the law, though he could later be freed by a separate court pending appeal, Abbasi added.

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