Thrice prime minister convicted twice, Maryam, Safdar sentenced in Avenfield case

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ISLAMABAD (By Lala Hassan) An Accountability court here on Friday convicted former prime minister Nawaz Sharif for 10 years, Maryam Nawaz for 7 years and Captain (R) Safdar sentenced for one in the Avenfield properties reference.

The court slapped a £8 million fine on Sharif in the Avenfield properties reference; while his daughter Maryam was sentenced to seven years with a £2 million fine.

Nawaz’s son-in-law Capt (retd) Safdar was given a one year sentence without any fine.

Accountability Court-I Judge Mohammad Bashir announced the verdict in closed court room after several delays since morning.

The court has also ruled that the Avenfield apartments of the Sharif family, in their possession since 1993, shall be seized by the federal government.

The Avenfield properties reference was one of three filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) last year in light of the Supreme Court’s verdict against Nawaz in the Panama Papers case.

The reference pertains to the ownership of the Sharif family’s apartments at Avenfield House, London.

Moreover, after the hearing, NAB Deputy Prosecutor General Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi said the accused have 10 days to file an appeal against the verdict.

Moreover, the district administration has imposed Section 144 in the capital to discourage mass gatherings.

As the hearing went under way, Judge Mohammad Bashir heard Sharifs’ request, submitted on Thursday, requesting the trial court to postpone the verdict till he is back in the country next week.

After submitting Begum Kulsoom Nawaz’s medical report, Maryam’s counsel Amjad Pervez argued that the law stipulates the presence of the accused when the verdict is read out. After the prosecution opposed any delay at such a late stage of the trial, the judge reserved his verdict and adjourned the hearing for an hour.

Later, the court dismissed Sharifs’ plea and announced verdict to given on Friday.

Nawaz and Maryam have been in London since June 14 tending to Nawaz’s wife Kulsoom, who is under medical treatment there, while Safdar is in Mansehra campaigning for the July 25 election.

Captain Safdar and Maryam Nawaz (FP)

On Tuesday, the court had reserved its verdict and ordered all accused to ensure their presence in court when the verdict is read.

The reference pertains to the ownership of the Sharif family’s apartments at Avenfield House, London.

Apart from Nawaz, his daughter Maryam and son-in-law Capt (retd) Safdar are accused in the case. Nawaz’s sons, also wanted in the case, have been declared proclaimed offenders owing to their no-show.

Ex-premier was sent behind the bars on October 12, 1999 followed by military coup, late Sharif was convicted in 2000 by the court.

Kulsoom Nawaz, wife of Nawaz Sharif (being treated in London now a days) had said that her husband was the victim of a “personal vendetta” by Pakistan’s military leader and accused the judge of delivering a verdict “written by someone else”.

“Such a judgment will make the nation hang its head in shame,” she said.

Then Sharif was sent out of country under secret agreement.

Sharif is the only prime minister of Pakistan who has sworn in as prime minister for three times, simultaneously he has become the first PM who had been convicted for two times and he could not complete his tenure as PM.

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