Ousted Pakistani PM Sharif sentenced to prison in absentia ahead of polls

07 July, 2018, 11:03 | Author: Carlos George
  • Maryam Nawaz outside the Avenfield apartments today. She will hear the verdict with her father and former finance minister Ishaq Dar- Geo News

It's the first verdict against Sharif faced a string of trials in Pakistan since he was ousted from office by the Supreme Court previous year.

There are two narratives about the sentence awarded to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter and son-in-law in the Avenfield reference case of London properties.

Both Sharif and his daughter were in London on Friday with Sharif's wife, Kulsoom, who is being treated there for cancer and is in a coma after suffering a heart attack last month. Maryam's husband and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) lawmaker Muhammad Safdar was handed a year in jail.

The verdict of the accountability court, which sentenced Nawaz to 10 years in prison and Maryam to seven years while imposing heavy fines apart from ordering the confiscation of the family's Avenfield apartments, drew criticism from at least one major opposition party.

The guilty verdict in absentia against Sharif, 68, threatens to end the career of one of Pakistan's most high-profile politicians of the last four decades, a political survivor who was prime minister three times.

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PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz, who has been sentenced to seven years' prison term by an accountability court in a graft case, will not be able to contest the July 25 general election.

"It is to be seen if this decision is written by a judge or a general", Safdar said.

Nawaz remarked that if the punishment for "demanding respect for the vote is jail, I am coming to face it". "Maryam was given seven years of rigorous imprisonment and imposed two million pounds (over Dollars 2.6 million) and her husband Muhammad Safdar was awarded one year rigorous imprisonment", the NAB prosecution team chief Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi told media outside the court. Abbasi also said that the verdict showed that Avenfield apartments were purchased with corruption money and were in ownership of Sharif family since 1993.

Amjad Pervez, counsel of Nawaz Sharif's daughter Maryam, argued that the law stipulates the presence of the accused when the verdict is read out.

What's the actual scenario of this case and how is it going to affect Pakistan's elections? "The PML-N is on the verge of extinction while we are putting forward a very strong lineup for the elections".

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