Pakistan: Ex-PM Given 10 Year Prison Sentence

Published: 11 July 2018

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif copyFormer Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif

By Haroon Janjua

A Pakistani anti-corruption court sentenced former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to 10 years in prison on Friday over a corruption scandal prompted by the Panama Papers and centered around several luxury London apartments, the BBC reported.

After a number of delays, Judge Mohammad Bashir charged Sharif for owning assets beyond his income and for not cooperating with the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

He and his daughter Maryam Nawz Sharif, who was sentenced to seven years for abetting a crime and for noncooperation, were fined a total of US$10.6 million.

Maryam’s husband was also sentenced to one year in prison for noncooperation.

Sharif’s sentence punctuates the downfall of the Sharif family, which has been under scrutiny for years.

In 2016, data leaked from the Panama Papers revealed that several of Sharif’s children were connected to offshore companies, which were allegedly used to buy foreign assets, including four luxury apartments in the Avenfield House in London.  

The Sharif family, however, claims that they legitimately acquired the properties, which have now been confiscated for the federal government. Sharif insists that the claims are politically motivated and the result of a military-backed conspiracy. 

Sharif and his daughter, who are currently in London and were sentenced in absentia, will return to Pakistan on Friday, the Strait Times reported. 

"I will go back. I will continue my struggle even in the jail," Sharif told reporters, according to BBC.

The verdict came just two weeks before the country’s general election on July 25, and will likely threaten the performance of Sharif’s former party, according to the Guardian.