World

Punished for trying to free people from slavery: Nawaz Sharif

Punished for trying to free people from slavery: Nawaz Sharif

A Pakistani anti-corruption court on Friday sentenced former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to 10 years in prison over the purchase of upscale London flats, prosecution lawyer Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi said. Nawaz Sharif was also fined 10 million pounds in the case.

The case stemmed from the Panama Papers leak that disclosed expensive and undeclared property owned by the Sharif family in London.

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.

He now stands as an exemplar of two of the country's most central issues: as a staunch defender of civilian governance amid military manipulation, and as a symbol of a venal Pakistani elite that has alienated much of the public.

Apart from Sharif, Maryam and son-in-law Capt (retd) Safdar are accused in the case.

During the trial, the NAB presented around 21 witnessed to prove that Sharif family can not justify the money trail to buy four apartments in Avenfield House, Park Lane, London. Maryam's husband and PML-N lawmaker Muhammad Safdar was handed a year in jail, he said.

At least on Friday, it appeared unlikely that either Nawaz Sharif or his daughter would appear in Pakistan to go to jail.

Sharif, 68, is in London attending to his wife Kulsoom Nawaz who was diagnosed with throat cancer previous year. "The decision is flawed, politically motivated & has glaring loopholes", Shehbaz Sharif said in a series of tweets.

Both denied wrongdoing and will appeal the decision, said Sharif ally Tariq Fazal Chaudhry, adding that the former premier would return to Pakistan before the election.

Recent surveys show that up to 22 per cent of Pakistani voters are undecided ahead of July 25, he said, and with further serious allegations of corruption against the PML-N leadership there is little chance of Sharif mobilising the "sympathy factor" after the verdict to draw those voters in.

1999 - Overthrown in a military coup by General Pervez Musharraf, the country's fourth army takeover since independence in 1947. The PML-N sweeps back to power in an election the gives its allies a solid National Assembly majority.

Khan is running on a socially conservative, anti-corruption platform.

Accountability court Judge Mohammad Bashir announced the verdict after several delays since morning.

Rasheed even said, "They expect those people to come out to whom they didn't even provide basic facilities".

1990 - First elected prime minister.

Responding to news of the sentences, Nawaz Sharif's brother didn't mention the military - but spared little criticism in his take on the verdict.


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