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Nawaz Sharif sentenced 10 years Maryam Nawaz 7 years in jail

06 July, 2018

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An accountability court in Islamabad has sentenced former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz to jail for 10 and 7 years respectively.

Captain (retd) Safdar has been sentenced to one year in jail.  Nawaz has been handed a fine of 8 million pounds, while Maryam has been fined 2m pounds.

According to reporters the Sharif family, along with former finance minister Ishaq Dar, are gathered at the Avenfield flats in London to watch the verdict unfold live.

According to media reports, Section 144 has been imposed in the capital and police in the garrison city are on high alert. City Police Officer (CPO) Abbas Ahsan told reporters that although "strong retaliation" is not expected after the decision, they are taking precautionary measures to maintain peace in the city.

Three corruption references, with regards to the verdict, were filed against the Sharif family in the accountability court by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) after the disqualification of Nawaz in the Panama Papers case on July 28, 2017.

Under the supervision of Supreme Court Justice Ijazul Ahsan, who was appointed a monitoring judge in the Panama case verdict, the trial against the Sharif family commenced on September 14, 2017.

Trial’s course has been exhaustive: marked with 107 hearings, 18 prosecution witnesses’ statements, including the Panama case joint investigation team (JIT) head, and Wajid Zia from Federal Investigation Agency.

Supreme Court used Zia-led JIT report last year as a warp for Nawaz’s disqualification and further investigation of the Sharif family’s assets. After his statement was recorded, Zia was cross-examined for around two weeks by the defense counsels.

Private solicitor Akhtar Raja and forensic expert Robert Radley — whose expertise was utilised by the JIT during its probe had also recorded their statements before the prosecution.

127 questions were asked from Nawaz and other accused, during their cross-examination, while no witnesses appeared in their defense.

Safdar attended all the hearings while Nawaz and Maryam attended 78 hearings, as they often shifted between London; to spend time with Begum Kulsoom Nawaz and Pakistan.

The trial court was directed by the apex court to conclude the cases in six months. However, the court has only concluded proceedings of the Avenfield reference in spite of the fact that for two times deadline has been extended — the latest one being July 10.

The other two references involving Sharif family’s corruption: Al-Azizia Steel Mills, Hill Metal Establishment and offshore companies including Flagship Investment Limited — are yet to be concluded.

On July 3, the court reserved its verdict and ordered all accused to ensure their presence before the court while the verdict is being announced. The reference relates to apartments at Avenfield House, London that Sharif family owns.

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