The accountability court on Friday announced the verdict in the Avenfield properties corruption reference filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), handing ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif 10 years as jail time for owning assets beyond known income and 1 year for not cooperating with NAB. The sentences will run concurrently which means the former prime minister will serve 10 years in jail.
Corruption charges, however, could not be proved against him.
His daughter Maryam Nawaz was given 7 years for abetment after she was found “instrumental in concealment of the properties of her father” and 1 year for non-cooperation with the bureau. These sentences will also run concurrently; she will serve 7 years in total.
According to the verdict, she “aided, assisted, abetted, attempted and acted in conspiracy with her father”.
Nawaz’s son-in-law retired Captain Safdar has been given 1 year jail time — also for not cooperating with NAB.
As the 9-month-long trial concluded, Nawaz was handed a fine of £8 million and Maryam £2 million. The money will go into the state treasury.
According to AFP, prosecution lawyer Sardar Muzaffar Abbas also said that the court had ordered the properties, in London’s exclusive Mayfair, be confiscated by the federal government.
The sons, Hasan and Hussain Nawaz, also accused in the case, are “absconding therefore, they are declared as proclaimed offenders. Non bailable perpetual warrants of arrest shall be issued against them”.
NAB had filed the reference regarding the high-end properties in London, along with two others, on the Supreme Court’s directives in the landmark Panamagate verdict last year which deseated Nawaz as the prime minister.
Four members of the Sharif family ─ Nawaz, Maryam, Hassan and Hussain ─ are in London, while Captain Safdar is in Pakistan, but was not present in court.
Soon after the verdict, Maryam took to Twitter to share this message: “This is a very small punishment for firmly standing in front of unseen forces. The morale to fight against oppression has increased today.”
Published in DAWN on July 6th, 2018