Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif was found guilty of corruption Friday and sentenced to 10 years in prison, while his daughter Maryam Nawaz received a seven-year jail term in the same case.
The sentence, 10 years in prison and a fine of 8 million pounds, or $10.6 million, came nearly a year after Supreme Court removed Sharif from office and less than five months after the court barred him from holding office for life. Maryam's husband retired Captain Safdar was sentenced to a year in prison.
Earlier, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan credited his party for taking the Panama scandal into the court.
In compliance to the Supreme Court order of July 28, 2017, which ousted the three-time prime minister, declaring him "dishonest" under Article 62 (1) (f) of Pakistan's constitution, three corruption references were filed by Pakistan's National Accountability Court (NAB) in September against the Sharifs and a fourth against their relative, ex-finance minister Ishaq Dar.
He said Sharif made Pakistan a nuclear power by rejecting worldwide pressures and served this country.
The ruling came weeks before the general elections in Pakistan on July 25 and analysts say it could adversely hit the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), the party headed by Sharif. 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. She has cancer and has been on a ventilator, according to officials with Sharif's political party, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz.
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Speaking to media in Lahore Friday, former CM Punjab said, "The Pakistani nation and the PML-N reject this decision".
The court has also ordered the federal government to confiscate the London apartments.
Hours before the verdict, Maryam's husband Safdar referred to it as a "funeral" for justice, the PML-N media office said in a statement.
One predicts PML-N riding a sympathy vote back to parliament, especially since Nawaz has sold his disqualification to the electorate as a military-judiciary conspiracy.
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.
In 1993 he was sacked from his first term as premier for corruption, while in 1999 he was sentenced to life in prison after his second term in office ended with a military coup.