Former Pakistan PM gets 10 years for corruption, daughter sentenced to seven

Former Pakistan PM gets 10 years for corruption, daughter sentenced to seven

Pakistan's accountability court on Friday found former prime minister Nawaz Sharif guilty in the Avenfield case, awarding him 10 years rigorous imprisonment for owning assets beyond his means and one additional year for not cooperating with the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

The sentence, 10 years in prison and a fine of 8 million pounds, or $13.9 million (CAD), came nearly a year after Pakistan's Supreme Court removed Sharif from office and fewer than five months after the court barred him from holding office for life. "(Ret.) Capt. Safdar Awan, husband of Maryam, has been sentenced one year's imprisonment (over non-cooperation with NAB)", said the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) prosecutor, Sardar Muzaffar, outside the court.

Earlier, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan credited his party for taking the Panama scandal into the court.

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

He fell out with powerful generals once he ascended to power a decade later, and the relationship between them was fraught after Sharif returned as premier in 2013, partly because Sharif challenged the military over control of foreign policy, which the generals have traditionally seen as their domain.

Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's daughter, Maryam Nawaz, had filed her papers to contest the July 25 elections from NA-127 and PP-173.

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The verdict in the Avenfield reference case was read out by accountability court Judge Mohammad Bashir after postponing the announcement four times in a day. They watched the verdict from London, where Nawaz Sharif's wife, Kulsoom, is receiving treatment for cancer.

The NAB court has also asked the federal government to confiscate the properties.

Analysts believe that if they return, it might boost the chances of good showing in elections by the PML-N due to sympathy vote.

The verdict marked a further fall for the PML-N supremo, who has been Pakistan's prime minister three times but never completed a term. "The decision is flawed, politically motivated & has glaring loopholes", Shehbaz Sharif said in a series of tweets. "Now robbers will not go into assemblies, but to jails", he told a roaring crowd of thousands.

But the military ended Sharif's second stint in power in 1999 in a bloodless coup.

It is alleged that the properties were allegedly bought with graft money in 1990s when he served twice as the prime minister.

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