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Ousted Pakistan PM sentenced to prison for corruption

07 July, 2018, 01:56 | Author: Kristen Ingram
  • Nawaz Maryam entering the court premises earlier this year

The Accountability Court sentenced former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to 10 years of imprisonment on Friday in one of the three corruption cases.

The court asked the national anti-corruption bureau to launch a probe into the allegations against Sharif, which stem from the Panama Papers leak past year linking his family to lucrative offshore businesses. The Sharif family insisted that the apartments were purchased through legitimate financial resources, but prosecutors said they had been unable or unwilling to produce proof of those claims to the court.

Throughout the case, they and their political supporters have cast the allegations as part of a campaign to discredit the former premier - allegedly led by Pakistan's army, which has made little secret of its dislike for Sharif. Nawaz Sharif was also fined 10 million pounds in the case.

Nawaz Sharif, speaking to reporters in London late Friday, said he planned to return to Pakistan and was willing to go to prison in his effort to free Pakistanis "of the slavery imposed on them by some generals and judges".

Sharif, 68, is in London attending to his wife Kulsoom Nawaz who was diagnosed with throat cancer past year. Sharif was ousted by the Supreme Court in July 2017 and barred from politics for being "dishonest" by failing to report a monthly income of 10,000 Emirati dirham ($2,723) from a company owned by his son. Nawaz had already been disqualified past year to contest these elections, and his brother Shehbaz Sharif is now leading the party to the polls. The PML-N sweeps back to power in an election the gives its allies a solid National Assembly majority.

Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rasheed remarked that a "political bigwig has been sentenced for the first time in Pakistan's history".

Sharif has argued that the military, in cahoots with top judges, has used cases against him and party members to tip the scales in favour of cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan ahead of the election. The verdict could mark not only the end of the Sharif's turbulent political dynasty but a turning point in a bitterly fought general election campaign, with polling only three...

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

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chairman Imran Khan.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) court handed down the verdict after a series of delays.

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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