Published: Sat, July 07, 2018
Worldwide | By Victor Meyer

Pakistan court convicts former prime minister Sharif in corruption case

Pakistan court convicts former prime minister Sharif in corruption case

Hours after a Pakistani court convicted Nawaz Sharif and his daughter of corruption on Friday, the former premier said in London he will return to the country and face prison as soon as he is able to have a word with his wife who is on a ventilator.

The sentence, 10 years in prison and a fine of 8 million pounds, or $10.6 million, came nearly a year after Supreme Court removed Sharif from office and less than five months after the court barred him from holding office for life. "Maryam was given seven years of rigorous imprisonment and imposed two million pounds (over United States 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.

Khan for his part greeted news of the verdict with jubilation at a campaign rally in the Swat valley in Pakistan's northwest.

The court asked the national anti-corruption bureau to launch a probe into the allegations against Sharif, which stem from the Panama Papers leak previous year linking his family to lucrative offshore businesses.

The conviction means Maryam Sharif will be disqualified from contesting the elections.

"I will stand with the masses and stop those who are creating impediments in the way of the votes", he said, adding he had been punished because he tried to turn the course of Pakistan's 70-year history.

Shehbaz the former Chief Minister of the Punjab province, said the decision was against justice and human rights as no proof was given against Sharif by the prosecution team of National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

The National Accountability Bureau court accused Sharif and his family of being unable to legitimately show the money trail for the purchase of several luxury properties in London, mostly in the mid-1990s.

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The court has also ordered the federal government to confiscate the London apartments.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) rejected the verdict, and Sharif's younger brother, Shahbaz, pledged to challenge the order.

Sharif, 68, is now in London attending to his wife Kulsoom Nawaz who was diagnosed with throat cancer previous year.

But he has kept control of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party that he founded.

"If Sharif does not come back, his party is over", said political analyst Rasool Bukhsh Rais.

Journalists and activists have spoken of pressure by the military to censor positive coverage of the PML-N campaign amid allegations of a "silent coup".

1990 - Elected prime minister for the first time.

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