ISLAMABAD: An accountability court on Friday sentenced former premier Nawaz Sharif to a total of 10 years in prison and directed him to pay a fine of £8 million after finding him guilty on different charges in the Avenfield properties case.
Judge Muhammad Bashir found Mr. Sharif guilty of accumulating assets beyond his known sources of income.
He handed out seven-year imprisonment to the former premier’s daughter Maryam Nawaz and a fine of £2 million. She has been awarded an additional one year’s imprisonment on charges of using Calibri font to fabricate Avenfield properties trust deeds.
Whereas, her husband Captain retired Safdar has been awarded one year’s jail term.
Nawaz Sharif handed out 10-year imprisonment and £8m fine
Maryam Nawaz gets seven years in prison and a fine of £2m
Captain Safdar to undergo rigorous imprisonment of one year
Avenfield properties to be confiscated
Moreover, the judge ordered confiscation of the Sharif family’s London properties in question in the case.
Four members of the Sharif family ─ Nawaz, Maryam, Hasan and Hussain ─ who have been named in the case – are in London, while Captain Safdar is in Pakistan, but didn’t appear in court to hear the verdict.
The judge earlier rejected an application filed by the former prime minister seeking a seven-day postponement of the verdict.
He reserved the verdict on the application after hearing arguments from the Sharif family’s lawyer Amjad Pervez and NAB prosecutor Sardar Muzaffar.
At the outset of the hearing, the lawyer argued that the former premier and his daughter are not proclaimed offenders and added they will show up in court upon return from London after seven days.
Opposing the plea, the NAB prosecutor contended a reserved verdict is not deferred and pleaded that the application be dismissed for being non-maintainble.
Security has been beefed up in and outside the court to avoid any untoward incident.
The accountability judge had earlier set July 6 (today) for pronouncement of the verdict in the Avenfield case against Mr. Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Captain retired Safdar.
A day earlier, the former premier’s lawyer filed the application, stating that the ex-PM wanted to hear the judgment while standing in the courtroom with his people whom he wanted to hold as witnesses.
He said Mr. Sharif and his daughter traveled to London on June 14 for tending to ailing wife Kulsoom Nawaz, who is undergoing cancer treatment there. Upon arrival in London, they discovered that she suffered a cardiac arrest and was put on a ventilator.
He said the former premier wanted to return to Pakistan if his wife had recovered sufficiently.
Not only is delay in the interest of justice, but in consonance with the spirit and requirement of Section 366 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1989, the counsel argued.
He pleaded that the announcement of the order in the reference be postponed for a minimum period of seven days so that Mr. Sharif and his daughter could return home.
A report about the condition of ailing Kulsoom Nawaz was also attached to the application, which stated, “she continues to be ventilator-dependent. Whilst last week it did look as if she might be able to [be] weaned, her respiratory indices deteriorated and she has required pressure control ventilation.”
The Avenfield reference is among four corruption references filed against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his three children and former finance minister Ishaq Dar in compliance with the July 2017 Supreme Court verdict in the Panama Papers case.
On July 28, the apex court disqualified Mr. Sharif in a unanimous verdict, thus cutting short his third stint in power.
The court directed the anti-graft watchdog to file references against the former premier and members of his family in the wake of the Panama Joint Investigation Team (JIT) report leveling serious corruption allegations against them.
Subsequently, three references were filed against Sharifs, which pertained to the Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Hill Metal Establishment, Flagship Investment Ltd, and Avenfield properties of London.
Nawaz sharif and his two sons – Hussain and Hasan – have been named in all three references whereas his daughter Maryam and son-in-law Capt. Safdar have been nominated in the Avenfield reference only.
As per Avenfield Properties reference, Sharif, his brood and his son-in-law had purchased four flats in Park Lane, UK, without legitimate financial means. However, the former premier and his family members have consistently claimed that the apartments were purchased with legal means.