A court in Pakistan on Friday sentenced former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to 10 years in jail and his daughter Maryam to seven years in a corruption case, Geo News reported. Maryam’s husband retired Captain Safdar was sentenced to a year in prison.
Accountability Court Judge Mohammad Bashir announced the sentence after several delays. Sharif and his daughter are in London, where Sharif’s wife Begum Kulsoom is undergoing treatment. They had requested the judge for a seven-day exemption, saying they want to be present in the court when the judgment is announced. Safdar was not present in the court either.
Sharif said 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 free of the chains that they are kept in for saying the truth,” the former Pakistani prime minister said, according to Dawn. “I will continue my struggle till the people of Pakistan are not freed of the slavery imposed on them by some generals and judges.”
He said he will not be a slave to those who “violate their oath and the Constitution of Pakistan”. “I am asking the nation to come with me in this defining moment and not abandon me,” he added.
The National Accountability Bureau had filed three case related to the purchase of four flats in London’s Avenfield House against Sharif and his children. The bureau registered the case on the basis of the Supreme Court’s orders in its July 28 Panamagate verdict, which removed Sharif from the post of prime minister, reported Dawn.
The agency had also named Sharif’s sons – Hussain Nawaz and Hassan Nawaz – as accused in the three cases. Sharif’s family insisted that they had purchased the apartments with “legitimate” financial resources but were unable to disclose those resources before either the accountability court or the Supreme Court.
Sharif’s brother, Shehbaz Sharif, said all his party’s candidates would contest the upcoming elections in the country and would “use the platform to highlight the injustice done to us and our disappointment in the decision”, ANI reported. He called it a “black day” and said voters would give the “ultimate verdict” on July 25, according to Dawn.
Maryam Nawaz also tweeted that the “real verdict” will come on July 25, and asked her party to “not get unsettled” despite the judgement.