Pakistan

ISLAMABAD – An anti-corruption court in Islamabad on Friday sentenced former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to 10 years in prison. His daughter Maryam Nawaz was sentenced to seven years in jail and son-in-law captain (retd) Safdar awarded one-year jail term in Avenfield apartments case.

The court also imposed a fine of £8 million on Mr Sharif and £2 million on Ms Maryam.

The Sharifs’ lawyers said they would challenge the ruling in High Court.

Accountability Court judge Mohammed Bashir also rejected an application from the Sharifs to postpone the announcement of the verdict as Mr Sharif is currently with his wife Kulsoom Nawaz in London who is on a ventilator for the past three weeks.

“In the interest of justice, the announcement of order in the titled reference may be postponed for a minimum of seven days period,” the applications by the Sharifs stated.

Mr Sharif had vowed to return to the country once his wife’s health improves.

Meanwhile, the international media has also shown its interest and covered the news, as well.

Sharif defiant

Sharif, referring to the imprisonment handed to him, said that he has been punished because he tried to turn the course of Pakistan’s 70-year history. “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,” Press Trust of India news agency quoted a defiant Sharif as telling reporters in London. “I will continue my struggle till the people of Pakistan are not freed of the slavery imposed on them by some generals and judges.”

Avenfield reference verdict: Nawaz Sharif, Maryam and Capt (r) Safdar sentenced to prison by accountability court

Highlights of Sharif’s career: 

  • 1949 – Nawaz Sharif is born into a Kashmiri family of industrialists in the eastern city of Lahore. He later graduates with a law degree from Punjab University and goes to work in the family steel business
  • 1976 – Enters politics, joining the Pakistan Muslim League (PML) after the Sharif family steel business was nationalised under the government of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, the beginning of a long political rivalry between the families.
  • 1981 – Joins the Punjab provincial cabinet as finance minister, becoming Punjab’s chief minister in 1985. The PML later split and Nawaz formed the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).
  • 1990 – First elected prime minister.
  • 1993 – Removed as prime minister by Pakistan’s president. He is reinstated by the supreme court but then resigns under pressure and his party loses elections to the Pakistan People’s Party of Benazir Bhutto, daughter of Zulfiqar Bhutto.
  • 1997- Elected prime minister for the second time. During his term, Pakistan successfully tests nuclear weapons in response to regional rival India’s atomic programme.
  • 1999 – Overthrown in a military coup by General Pervez Musharraf, the country’s fourth army takeover since independence in 1947. After the coup, he was convicted of corruption and given a life sentence for hijacking over an incident when he ordered Musharraf’s plane not to land in Islamabad.
  • 2000-2007 – Allowed to go into exile in Saudi Arabia in 2000 amid reports of a deal with the military, he was given a presidential pardon the day his family left.
  • 2007 – Returns from exile to contest elections the next year as part of a political deal that ended Musharraf’s military rule.
  • 2008 – Loses election to the party of Benazir Bhutto, who was assassinated ahead of the polls.
  • 2013 – Elected prime minister for the third time. The PML-N sweeps back to power in an election the gives its allies a solid National Assembly majority.
  • April 4, 2016 – The leaked Panama Papers show the involvement of Sharif’s family in offshore companies including two used to buy luxury homes in London.
  • Oct. 28, 2016 – Cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan threatens to paralyse the capital, Islamabad, with a “lockdown” of street protests unless demands for an independent investigation into the Panama revelations are met. Sharif denies any wrongdoing.
  • Nov. 2, 2016 – Supreme Court agrees to set up a judicial commission to probe corruption allegations against Sharif, stemming from Panama Papers leaks. Khan backs down from lockdown threat.
  • July 28, 2017 – Supreme Court declares Sharif disqualified from office for not declaring income from a company in the United Arab Emirates, which was not in original Panama Papers revelations. The court also orders the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to open a criminal trial into ownership of the London flats along with several other Panama Papers revelations.
  • April 13, 2018 – The Supreme Court further rules Sharif is banned from political office for life.
  • July 6, 2018 – The NAB court convicts Sharif of corruption and sentences him in absentia to 10 years in prison.

Detailed judgement of Avenfield case against Nawaz, Maryam, capt(r) Safdar