Sharif sentenced to 10 years for graft, daughter gets 7

Islamabad, July 6 (IANS) Dealing a severe blow to the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) ahead of the general elections, former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was on Friday sentenced to 10 years in prison while his daughter Maryam Nawaz was handed a seven-year jail over graft charges in the purchase of overseas properties.

Sharif, who is currently in London along with his daughter, called the charges “politically motivated” and said he will be returning to Pakistan to face prison. He said he had been punished because he tried to turn the course of the country’s 70-year history.

The verdict was delivered by the accountability court in the Avenfield corruption case, which is related to the Sharif family’s ownership of four flats in the posh Avenfield House in London.

Sharif, a three-time Premier, was earlier disqualified from standing for his PML-N following conviction in corruption cases. His brother Shahbaz Sharif now heads the party and is running in the July vote.

The court ordered Sharif to pay a fine of $10.6 million while Maryam Nawaz was fined $2.6 million. Her husband Captain Safdar Awan was given one-year sentence.

Accountability court Judge Mohammad Bashir announced the verdict after several delays. Sharif was sentenced for “owning assets beyond income and one year (included in the 10-year term) for not co-operating with the National Accountability Bureau. He will serve his sentences concurrently.

Maryam Nawaz received jail term “for abetting a crime and one year (included in the 7-year term) for not co-operating — again to run concurrently. The Sharif family insists that they had purchased the apartments through “legitimate financial resources”.

The former Premier and his daughter are currently with Sharif’s wife Kulsoom Nawaz, who is receiving cancer treatment, and Safdar is in Pakistan but was reportedly unable to attend.

According to the verdict, all three have been barred from engaging in politics for 10 years and four properties in London will be confiscated by the Pakistani state. They have 10 days to appeal the verdict at the Islamabad High Court.

Following the verdict, the three-time Premier addressed a press conference in London and said that if the punishment for “demanding respect for the vote is jail, I am coming to face it”, adding that he will “not be a slave to those who violate their oath and the Constitution of Pakistan”.

“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,” he said

Sharif, however, did not give any specific time or date for his return to Pakistan. He said that the deteriorating health of his wife was the reason for him not being able to return immediately.

The Avenfield corruption case is among the multiple graft cases filed against the former Premier and his children by the anti-corruption body on the Supreme Court’s directives in the landmark Panamagate verdict last year which disqualified then Prime Minister Sharif.

The apex court ruled that Sharif had been dishonest to Parliament and to the judicial system for failing to disclose earnings received from a company run by one of his children.

The other corruption cases filed against the Sharifs pertain to the Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Hill Metal Establishment, offshore companies including Flagship Investment Limited and Avenfield properties of London.

The father-daughter duo wanted the announcement of the verdict delayed by a week, stating they wanted to be in court when the judgment was announced. However, the plea was dismissed.

Sharif’s brother Shahbaz criticized the ruling and said the election would serve as a people’s court that would condemn the decision.

Maryam Nawaz took to Twitter and said: “This is a very small punishment for firmly standing in front of unseen forces. The morale to fight against oppression has increased today.”

She and her husband now stand barred from contesting the polls from Lahore and Mansehra respectively.

10 killed in Russian attack on Ukraine’s Chernihiv: Zelensky

Kiev: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called for more air defence support from Western partners after a Russian missile attack killed at least 10 people on Wednesday. "This would not have...

Record rainfall in UAE disrupts travel at deluged Dubai airport

Cairo: Dubai airport, one of the world's busiest, on Wednesday advised passengers not to head to the hub "unless absolutely necessary," after the city in the United Arab Emirates suffered...

FBI questions German right-wing politician over Russian money: Report

Berlin: The far-right AfD's leading candidate for the European Parliament elections, Maximilian Krah, has been questioned by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) about possible payments from pro-Russian patrons,...

EU leaders meet to discuss Israel-Iran tensions, Ukraine war

Brussels: European Union (EU) leaders are in Brussels for a two-day summit starting from Wednesday to discuss the EU's economic future, the Ukraine war and major tensions between Israel and...

Israel attacks Rafah in Gaza Strip, 7 killed

Tel Aviv: The Israel Air Force has attacked a building in Rafah in southern Gaza, killing seven people. According to Israeli media, the attack occurred early Wednesday morning. The US...

US plans new sanctions on Iran following attacks on Israel

Washington: The US is planning new sanctions against Iran following Tehran's missile and drone attacks on Israel, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan has said. Sullivan said on Tuesday that US...

Iran’s President again warns Israel against counterattack

Berlin: Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi has once again warned Israel against mounting a military counterattack following Iran's recent air assault on Israel. During a telephone call with Qatar's Emir Tamim...

India is our strategic partner, world’s largest democracy: US

Washington: US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller has said that India is the world's largest democracy and an important strategic partner of Washington. His remarks came while answering a question...

Iran will face consequences of its action, says IDF chief

Tel Aviv: Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Chief of Staff Lt Gen Herzi Halevi has said that Iran will face the consequences of its action. Halevi in a video statement on...

Stabbing at Sydney church a ‘terrorist act’: Australian police

Sydney: Australian police are treating a stabbing at a Sydney church as a terrorist attack, New South Wales Police Commissioner Karen Webb said on Tuesday. Police were called to Christ...

Biden reiterates US commitment to Israel’s security

Washington: US President Joe Biden has reiterated his country's commitment to Israel's security, underscoring as well the need to contain the conflict from further spreading. "The United States is committed...

Israel wants temporary ceasefire agreement in Gaza: Hamas official

Gaza: Israel is seeking a ceasefire agreement with Hamas to secure the release of its hostages before resuming military operations in the Gaza Strip, Ezzat al-Rishq, a member of Hamas'...

Read Previous

As Russia rises, world turns ‘quasi-multipolar’

Read Next

World Cup: France ease past Uruguay 2-0 to book semis berth

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

WP2Social Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com