Pakistan: Former PM Nawaz Sharif Sentenced To Ten Years In Prison
July 8th, 2018 / 9:11 PM
Image Credit | Dawn
The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) court of Pakistan sentenced former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to ten years in prison. The verdict was announced on July 6, 2018. He is also slapped with a fine of £8 million ($10.5 million), as reported by CNN. He was being investigated in charges related to his family’s purchase of overseas properties.
His daughter Mariam Nawaz and son-in-law Captain Safdar Awan have also been sentenced to jail. While Mariam was sentenced to seven years in prison and a £2 million ($2.6 million) fine, her husband received a one-year jail sentence.
“The Pakistani nation and the PML-N [Pakistani Muslim League (Nawaz)] reject this decision. This is a dark chapter in the history of this country. There was no solid legal evidence in the entire case,” said Shahbaz Sharif, The Guardian reports.
“I will continue this struggle”
Nawaz Sharif said that he has been punished because he tried to turn the course of Pakistan’s 70-year history. “I promise that I will continue this struggle until Pakistanis are not free of the chains that they are kept in for saying the truth. I will continue my struggle till the people of Pakistan are not free of the slavery imposed on them by some generals and judges,” Sharif said to reporters in London, as quoted by PTI.
The NAB ruled that Sharif and his family laundered money in the 1990s to pay for four luxury apartments in Park Lane, central London, drawing on allegations that resurfaced in the Panama Papers leak.
As per BBC reports, Sharif will be serving ten years jail term for owning assets beyond income and one year for not cooperating with the NAB. Whereas Mariam Sharif is sentenced to seven years for abetting a crime and one year for not cooperating. Her husband was sentenced to one-year jail for not cooperating.
None of the accused present for the verdict
Nawaz Sharif’s wife Kulsoom Nawaz is undergoing treatment for cancer in London. Therefore Sharif and his daughter are in London. Safdar is in Pakistan but could not attend the hearing.
Barred from politics
As per CNN, all three convicts have been barred from engaging in politics for ten years. As ordered by the court, the four properties in London will be confiscated by the Pakistani state. However, they can appeal against the judgement at the Islamabad High Court within 10 days.
Elections in Pakistan are due for July 25, 2018. Sharif’s daughter was to contest elections from two seats in the upcoming general elections. Court’s verdict has come as a blow to Sharif’s party Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). The party has termed the verdict as political victimisation.
The Election Commission had removed Nawaz Sharif as head of the PML-N after his disqualification by the Supreme Court. The party is now headed by Nawaz’s brother Shahbaz Sharif.
Disqualified as PM of Pakistan in 2017
The Supreme Court disqualified Sharif as Prime Minister in July 2017. The disqualification came in as opposition leader Imran Khan challenged Sharif’s office on the basis of publication of the Panama Papers.
According to Panama Papers, Sharif family hoarded away assets in London through offshore companies Nescoll and Nelson. These companies are owned by Hussain Nawaz, Sharif’s son. Assets in question are worth over £200 million.
Opposition welcomes the verdict
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan termed the judgment as historic. He said that it would serve as a deterrent to corruption in the country.”Sharif brothers [indulged in] corruption for decades and destroyed the institutions. For the first time, a powerful person has been sentenced, which is unprecedented,” he said.
‘Appeal against the verdict’
Maryam Nawaz said that she and her father would return to Pakistan on July 13. They would file an appeal against the NAB’s decision, as reported by Dawn. “We will go back before that [10 days] anyway,” she said to reporters.
Also published on Medium.
Written by : Ruchika Jha (Guest Author)
Edited by : Shraddha Goled