Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison for Corruption
Former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was sentenced to 10 years in prison by an anti-corruption court on Friday, according to judicial sources, which is a serious blow to his party ahead of the July 25 legislative elections.
Mr. Sharif, absent at the hearing in a court in Islamabad, “was sentenced to 10 years in prison and fined eight million pounds” ($ 10 million) in a case involving the purchase of several luxury apartments in London, said his lawyer Mohammad Aurangzeb to AFP.
According to Sardar prosecutor Muzaffar Abbas, the court also ordered the seizure of the apartments in question by the federal government.
Three of Mr. Sharif’s four children were also involved in the apartment case, including his daughter and alleged political heir Maryam Sharif. The latter was sentenced Friday to 7 years in prison.
Mr. Sharif is currently in London at the bedside of his wife, who has cancer, as well as his daughter.
In July 2017, the Pakistani Supreme Court prematurely ended Nawaz Sharif’s third term as head of government, after revelations about luxurious real estate held by his family through off-shore holdings.
The Pakistani judiciary then banned Sharif from leading his party, the PML-N, and then participating in any vote for life. His clan denies any wrongdoing and suggests that Nawaz Sharif is a victim of conspiracy by the powerful Pakistani army.
The PML-N party is currently led by his brother Shahbaz Sharif and is one of the main parties in the run-up to the July 25 legislative elections in the country. His main rival is the PTI, led by former cricket champion Imran Khan.
“We reject this judicial decision,” reacted Shahbaz Sharif immediately from his stronghold in Lahore during a press briefing broadcast on television.
“I will go down the streets and tell people about this unfair decision and we will defend our case in the people’s court on July 25,” he said.
“We will conduct our election campaign and protest peacefully against this decision,” he added.
It was unclear whether Nawaz Sharif intended to return to Pakistan after the verdict, which places him in a “difficult position,” according to political analyst Rasool Bukhsh Rais.
“If Sharif does not come back, his party is over,” he says. “If he returns, he will have to fight in court and he will suffer a lot, but at least he will save his party,” he said.