Islamabad: An anti-graft court in Pakistan sentenced former Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif to 10 years in jail, and his daughter Maryam to seven years in a corruption case involving the purchase of four luxury apartments in London’s Avenfield House.
The trial court of the National Accountability Bureau announced the judgment on Friday.
The case also involves Sharif’s son-in-law Captain (retired) Safdar and two sons — Hasan and Hussain — who have already been declared absconders in the case following their now show in the hearings.
The verdict, which has already been postponed once, comes ahead of the general elections in Pakistan on 25 July and will impact the poll prospects of the Pakistan Muslim League, Nawaz (PML-N), which is facing stiff competition from Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI).
With the trial court sentencing Maryam to jail, she stands disqualified for the general elections. Maryam has registered as a PML-N candidate for the upcoming polls from NA-127 (Lahore) seat.
The former Pakistan prime minister, however, continues to deny any wrongdoing and accused the military and courts conspiring to oust him and using legal cases and intimidation to help Khan’s PTI party, accusations denied by Khan, the Army, and the judiciary.
Sharif, 67, resigned in July after the Supreme Court disqualified him from holding office over an undeclared source of income, but the veteran leader maintains his grip on the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party.
The latest pre-election polls have shown PTI gaining ground over PML-N. Khan, a former cricket captain of Pakistan, has portrayed the legal cases as a long-overdue corruption crackdown on the PML-N, which he has labelled a graft-ridden “mafia”.
Sharif has a history of differences with the military, which has ruled the nuclear-armed country for almost half of its history, and ousted him from power in 1999 in a bloodless coup.