by Elton Gomes
On Friday, a Pakistani accountability court sentenced former prime minister Nawaz Sharif to 10 years in prison for owning assets beyond income in the Avenfield properties corruption case. The case was filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). Additionally, Sharif was handed a one year sentence for not cooperating with the NAB. Both sentences will run concurrently, which means that Sharif will serve a total of 10 years in jail.
Sharif’s daughter, Maryam Nawaz, was sentenced to seven years for abetment and one year for non-cooperation with the NAB. Maryam’s sentence will also run concurrently – which means that she will collectively serve seven years in prison. Sharif’s son-in-law, retired Captain Muhammad Safdar, has also received a one-year sentence for not cooperating with the NAB.
The court imposed a fine of eight million euros on Sharif and two million euros on Maryam. This money will go to the state treasury.
Judge Mohammad Bashir handed down the sentences in the court in Islamabad, wherein none of the defendants were present. All three are now barred from engaging in politics for a period of 10 years. As per the verdict, Sharif’s four properties will be confiscated by the Pakistani state. They have a period of 10 days to appeal the verdict at the Islamabad High Court.
In a statement, Sharif’s brother, Shahbaz Sharif, said that his party Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) “strongly rejects the verdict.” Shahbaz added, “The decision is flawed, politically motivated and has glaring loopholes,” CNN reported.
Sharif’s problems began in 2016, after he was named in the Panama Papers probe. His supporters have blamed Pakistan’s military for pressing charges against Sharif. Sharif, Maryam, and her husband Muhammad have vehemently denied all wrongdoing in the case. However, in the ruling that removed Sharif from office in 2017, the Supreme Court stated that he and his family were unable to adequately explain how they could afford the expensive apartments in London and could not provide a money trail.
Sharif’s political career was all but over after the Supreme Court dismissed him from holding public office for life. The next general election in Pakistan was scheduled to be held in late July 2018. However, by that time, Sharif was already disqualified. When Pakistani journalist Hamid Mir was asked about Sharif’s intentions to force his way into politics again, Mir said, “Oh, it’s over for him. He does not think he will be PM again,” Dawn reported.
Elton Gomes is a staff writer at Qrius
Stay updated with all the insights.
Navigate news, 1 email day.
Subscribe to Qrius