An accountability court in Pakistan on Friday sentenced ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to ten years in prison in a corruption case.
His daughter Maryam Nawaz Shairf was given a sentence of seven years. The court also imposed a fine of £8 million and £2 million on Sharif and his daughter, respectively.
Accountability Court-I Judge Mohammad Bashir also sentenced Nawaz's son-in-law captain (retd) Safdar to one year in prison.
Pakistan's anti-corruption court on Friday convicted ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in absentia and sentenced him to 10 years in prison, in what seemed to be the end of a long and tumultuous political career of the three-time leader.
The court delivered the verdict after postponing it for four times in the Avenfield corruption case - pertaining to the ownership of four flats in the posh Avenfield House in London. This is one of the three cases against the Sharif family.
"( Sharif) has been awarded 10 years imprisonment and an eight million pound ($10 million) fine" over the purchase of high-end properties in London, defence lawyer Mohammad Aurangzeb told AFP. Prosecution lawyer Sardar Muzaffar Abbas also said that the court had ordered the properties be confiscated.
Shortly after the verdict, Sharif said he has been punished because he tried to turn the course of Pakistan's 70-year history.
Addressing a press conference in London along with his daughter Maryam, Sharif said, "I promise that I will continue this struggle until Pakistanis are not free of the chains that they are kept in for saying the truth."
"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 was quoted as saying by the Dawn.
Addressing a rally in Swat as part of his party's electoral campaign, Sharif's political rival and chief of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Imran Khan opined that it was the first time in the country's history that "the powerful are being held accountable for the first time."
"Nobody would take me seriously when I used to say that they [Sharifs and Zardari] have bought properties abroad. I thank God today because the struggle that I began 22 years ago [has now borne fruit]," Khan was quoted by The Dawn, as saying.
Khan claimed that if former prime minister Nawaz Sharif was sent to jail earlier, the country's institutions would have functioned normally and smoothly, Geo TV reported.
Sharif's borther and PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif rejected the accountability court's verdict against his brother and his family, saying the people's court will exonerate them on July 25 when the elections will be held.
"Pakistani people and PML-N reject this verdict. It will be written in black words...This will be remembered as a black day in history," Shehbaz said minutes after the verdict was pronounced after multiple delays.
The ruling came weeks before the general elections in Pakistan on July 25 + .
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. The other two cases are Gulf Steel Mills and Al-Azizia Steel Mills.
The Sharifs had filed an application on Thursday requesting the court to delay the verdict + in the Avenfield reference and grant a seven-day exemption in the wake of Nawaz's wife, Begum Kulsoom Nawaz's deteriorating health.
The accountability court on Friday dismissed Sharif's plea for a delay in the announcement of the verdict in the Avenfield corruption case against his family.
Nawaz Sharif and Maryam are currently in London visiting Kulsoom Nawaz, who is suffering from cancer and is undergoing treatment there. On June 14, both Sharif and his daughter left for the United Kingdom after they were granted a brief exemption from the ongoing trial.
Both Sharif and his daughter were supposed to return to Pakistan by June 27.
The trial against the Sharif family had commenced on September 14 last year.
Nawaz and his sons, Hussain and Hasan, are accused in all three references, whereas Maryam and her husband Safdar are accused in the Avenfield reference.
If Maryam and Safdar are convicted in the case, they will be barred from contesting the general elections on July 25.