Interim warrants have also been issued to arrest his sons, Hassan and Hussain, who reside in UK
Islamabad: Pakistan’s accountability court on Friday pronounced ousted premier Nawaz Sharif guilty in the Avenfield corruption reference and sentenced him to at 10 years in prison after daylong suspense in Islamabad. His daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Captain (retired) Safdar have also been convicted in the same case.
Nawaz has also been fined 8 million pounds (Dh38.9 million) for owning assets without declaration and for not cooperating with NAB. Maryam has been awarded at least seven years of jail time and also has been fined 2 million pounds whereas her husband Safdar was handed a one-year sentence.
The conviction of Nawaz Sharif and his daughter automatically disqualified both for 10 years. The court also decided to seize the properties owned by the Sharif family in UK. Interim warrants have also been issued to arrest sons of Nawaz Sharif, Hassan and Hussain, who reside in UK, according to local TV report.
The highly anticipated verdict in the Avenfield corruption reference (regarding Sharif’s upscale London apartments) was filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) against the Sharif family. The verdict was announced after several delays on Friday as the court was buzzing with media and security personnel.
Nawaz and Maryam have been in London since June 14 tending to Nawaz’s ailing wife Kulsoom, who is under medical treatment there, while Nawaz’s son-in-law, Safdar was busy campaigning for the July 25 election in Mansehra where NAB teams have been reportedly sent to arrest him.
The court decision is seen as a major political setback in upcoming elections for Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) which already lost public sympathy in many areas due to Nawaz Sharif’s alleged corruption and criticism of state institutions.
The court announced the verdict in corruption references against members of the Sharif family after dismissing the petition filed by Sharif and Maryam seeking a seven-day delay in the announcement of the verdict.
In reaction to the court decision, several opposition leaders and rivals warmly welcomed the court decision while PML-N leaders claimed that the decision was not made on the basis of justice.
The trial against the Sharif family that commenced on September 14, 2017 was spread over 107 hearings in which Nawaz appeared 78 times and Maryam attended 80 hearings, while her husband made 92 appearances.
The Avenfield reference was among the three corruption references filed against the former premier and his children by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) following Supreme Court’s orders in the Panamagate case which disqualified Sharif as premier.