Pakistan ex-PM given 10-year jail term

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Former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif

A Pakistani court has sentenced former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to 10 years in prison on corruption charges related to four luxury London flats.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) court handed down the verdict after a series of delays. His daughter and son-in-law were also convicted.

Nawaz Sharif, who is currently in London and was sentenced in absentia, has said the charges are politically motivated.

Judge Mohammad Bashir ordered Sharif to serve 10 years for owning assets beyond income and one year for not co-operating with the NAB. The sentences are to be served concurrently.

His daughter Maryam Nawaz Sharif received seven years for abetting a crime and one year for not co-operating – again to run concurrently – while son-in-law Safdar Awan was given a one-year sentence for not co-operating.

Sharif and Maryam also received fines of £8m ($10.6m) and £2m respectively. They are currently both in London where Sharif’s wife, Kulsoom Nawaz, is receiving treatment for cancer.

The case, known as the Avenfield Reference, relates to a number of properties in the UK capital.

The Panama Papers leak in 2015 revealed several of Sharif’s children had links to offshore companies, which were allegedly used to channel funds and buy foreign assets – including luxury flats in Avenfield House, on London’s Park Lane.

His family, however, insist they legitimately acquired the four properties. As part of the ruling, the court ordered they be confiscated for the federal government. (BBC)

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