Former Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif gets ten years for corruption

Nawaz and Maryam outside the court premises this year

The former Prime Minister and his daughter were not present in the country while Sharif's son-in-law was missing from the court.

The Supreme Court agreed to investigate the Sharif family's finances after Khan threatened street demonstrations to protest graft.

Sharif's younger brother, Shahbaz Sharif, who has taken over the PML-N leadership, rejected the court's decision.

In addition to the sentencing, Sharif and Maryam have been fined 8 million British pounds and 2 million pounds respectively. Sharif's daughter, Maryam, widely seen as his chosen political heir, was sentenced to seven years in prison. The court has ordered confiscation of the properties. PML-N workers also repeatedly bring up the condition of Nawaz's ailing wife, dying of cancer in a London hospital, which opponents say is a tactic to exploit voters' emotions and sentiments.

"We have faith in God and are not anxious", tweeted Maryam Nawaz.

The court ruled that all three family members had been involved in the ownership of four apartments in an upscale London district known as the Avenfield Flats.

"We were the first petitioners in the Panama case".

Khan for his part greeted news of the verdict with jubilation at a campaign rally in the Swat valley in Pakistan's northwest. The companies are owned by Mr. Sharif's son Hussain Nawaz. "Pakistan's future will be better now", PTI's Ali Awan told Arab News. Nawaz had already been disqualified past year to contest these elections, and his brother Shehbaz Sharif is now leading the party to the polls.

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

"Justice has been massacred", Maryam's husband Safdar said after the verdict. Sharif's family insisted that they had purchased the apartments with "legitimate" financial resources but were unable to disclose those resources before either the accountability court or the Supreme Court.

The court dismissed applications by lawyers of the defendants on Thursday seeking a seven-day delay in announcing the verdict.

Sharif is now in London, where his wife is receiving medical treatment for cancer.

The court asked the national anti-corruption bureau to launch a probe into the allegations against Sharif, which stem from the Panama Papers leak previous year linking his family to lucrative offshore businesses. Dar was also indicted, but he fled to London citing health issues and medical reasons. The three were subsequently declared absconders.



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