The verdict against Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz comes days before the general elections in the country.
ISLAMABAD — An accountability court in Pakistan on Friday announced the verdict in the Avenfield corruption reference filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), handing ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif 10 years as jail time for owning assets beyond income and 1 year for not cooperating with NAB.
The sentences will run concurrently which means the former prime minister will serve 10 years in jail.
The court delivered the verdict after postponing it for four times in the Avenfield corruption case — pertaining to the ownership of four flats in the posh Avenfield House in London.
Sharif, 68, is in London attending to his wife Kulsoom Nawaz who was diagnosed with throat cancer last year. Accountability court judge Mohammad Bashir pronounced the verdict behind closed doors.
His daughter Maryam Nawaz was also handed 7 years for abetment in the purchase of the high-end properties in London, and 1 year for non-cooperation with the bureau — also to run concurrently; she will serve 7 years in total.
Son-in-law Captain Safdar has been given 1 year jail time — also for not cooperating with NAB.
Nawaz has also been handed a fine of 8 million pounds, while Maryam has been fined 2m pounds. The money will go into the state treasury.
Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) criticised the verdict, saying it was “without logic”.
Three-time prime minister Sharif resigned as Pakistan prime minister last year after the Supreme Court disqualified him from holding public office and ruled that graft cases be filed against the beleaguered leader and his children over the Panama Papers scandal.
PML-N Calls it ‘Black Day’
Minutes after the Avenfield corruption reference verdict was announced, addressing a press conference PML-N Chairman Shahbaz Sharif termed the day as a “black day”.
“They were calling him everyday. There was even talk of holding hearings on weekends,” Shahbaz said while adding that Nawaz also “appeared before the accountability court 109 times.”
He also said that there are other cases in which corruption “has been proven in black and white” and yet no verdicts were announced against the culprits.
“The person they did choose to announce a verdict against was Nawaz Sharif. No one can deny that Nawaz made Pakistan a nuclear power,” Shahbaz said, while recounting a list of the “many gifts” his brother has given the nation.
“Even our biggest political opponent cannot say that the promises the party made in the 2013 election, have not been delivered upon by Nawaz Sharif,” Shahbaz said.
“Nawaz is a man whose wife is between life and death — even that was not given any consideration. Is this justice? Is this humanity?” he said while adding that even Kulsoom Nawaz’s illness was given a political colour by his opponents.