Pakistan ex-PM Nawaz Sharif sentenced to 10 years in prison

Pakistan ex-PM Nawaz Sharif sentenced to 10 years in prison

A corruption court in Islamabad announced the ruling on Friday, sending shock waves throughout Pakistan.

The Avenfield case was among the three corruption cases filed against the former premier and his children by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on the Supreme Court's orders in the Panama Papers case which disqualified Sharif.

His daughter, Maryam Sharif, also received a seven-year sentence, while his former security officer Safdar Awan received a one-year sentence. Sharif's two sons, who are British citizens, also ignored the repeated court summons.

"(Sharif) has been awarded 10 years imprisonment and an eight million pound ($10 million) fine" over the purchase of high-end properties in London, defense lawyer Mohammad Aurangzeb told AFP.

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

July 6, 2018 - The NAB court convicts Sharif of corruption and sentences him in absentia to 10 years in prison.

A copy of the verdict said the Sharif family had failed to prove a legal source of income for the purchase of the Avenfield apartments.

She further said that it was positive that there is one political leader who is steadfast in his resolve to protect the sanctity of the vote. The court has ordered confiscation of the properties.

The guilty verdict threatens to end his political career.

Small protests quickly broke out in Islamabad, Multan and Lahore.

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"This decision is based on injustice".

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There is little chance of Nawaz mobilising the sympathy factor after the verdict to draw voters in. The verdict was delivered in the absence of Sharif, 68, who is in London attending to his wife Kulsoom Nawaz who was diagnosed with throat cancer past year.

"Sharif will be exonerated by the people's court", he said.

The corruption controversy erupted with the publication past year of 11.5 million secret documents from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca documenting the offshore dealings of numerous world's rich and powerful. At this time previous year, he was still serving his third term as Pakistan's premier - but revelations about his financial dealings, uncovered as part of the massive Panama Papers leaks, loosened his grip on power.

2000-2007 - Allowed to go into exile in Saudi Arabia in 2000 amid reports of a deal with the military, he was given a presidential pardon the day his family left.

1990 - Elected prime minister for the first time.

Soon after the verdict, Maryam, considered to be Sharif's heir apparent, took to Twitter to share this message: "This is a very small punishment for firmly standing in front of unseen forces".

PTI chief Imran Khan welcomed the verdict with jubilation at a campaign rally in the Swat.

He said he started his struggle a year ago, and today a powerful person has been punished, as previously institutions couldn't hold them accountable.

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