Ousted Pakistani PM Sharif gets 10-year jail term ahead of polls

Pakistan ex-PM Nawaz Sharif given 10-year jail term

Pakistan ex-PM Nawaz Sharif given 10-year jail term

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supreme leader Mian Nawaz Sharif on Friday announced that he is returning to Pakistan hours after an accountability court awarded him a 10-year sentence in the Avenfield reference, ARY News reported.

Sharif and his family are facing trial in three corruption cases filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), which are Avenfield properties, Gulf Steel Mills and Al-Azizia Steel Mills.

Today, the court also sentenced Maryam to seven years in prison.

"The entire Pakistan will witness on July 25 whether these parties are strong or the masses", he remarked. According to National Accountability Bureau (NAB) court, Sharif family failed to show proper money trail behind purchase of such high-valued apartments.

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 $2,723 (10,000 Emirati dirham) from a company owned by his son.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) rejected the verdict, and Sharif's younger brother, Shahbaz, pledged to challenge the order. Each has also received a £8 million and £2 million fine respectively, as the Avenfield Reference case came to an astonishing conclusion today at the Federal Judicial Complex.

Sharif has a history of conflict with the military even though his political career was initially nurtured by military dictator Zia ul-Haq in the 1980s.

Analysts believe that if they return, it might boost the chances of good showing in elections by the PML-N due to sympathy vote.

Amid tight security, the court delivered the much-anticipated verdict after postponing it for five times during the day in the Avenfield corruption case - pertaining to the ownership of four flats in the posh Avenfield House in London. The convictions are a huge setback to the ruling PML-N, which has accused the country's powerful military establishment of conspiring against the party by forcing its candidates to switch sides and join the Opposition or contest elections as independents.

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.

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

By convicting Sharif, the court has in fact selectively done the application of justice.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chairman Imran Khan. "Nawaz Sharif has always fought bravely", he added.

Accountability Court Judge Mohammad Bashir announced the sentence after several delays.

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