For­mer Pak­istan prime min­is­ter sen­tenced to 10 years in jail

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - WORLD -

IS­LAM­ABAD: A Pak­istani anti­graft tri­bunal on Fri­day an­nounced a much-awaited rul­ing in a cor­rup­tion case against for­mer prime min­is­ter Nawaz Sharif, sen­tenc­ing him to 10 years in prison over pur­chases of lux­ury apart­ments in Lon­don.

Sharif, who is in Lon­don with his ail­ing wife, was not in the court­room for the ver­dict and was sen­tenced in ab­sen­tia. It’s un­likely that Pak­istan will seek his ex­tra­di­tion and the for­mer premier hours af­ter the rul­ing said he was re­turn­ing home, without spec­i­fy­ing a date.

“I am com­ing back to Pak­istan,” he said at a news con­fer­ence aired on Pak­istani TV. “I am not afraid of jail.” He said he would con­tinue his strug­gle “for the supremacy of law and the con­sti­tu­tion”.

Sharif said his wife was on a res­pi­ra­tor at a Lon­don hos­pi­tal and he was wait­ing for her to re­gain con­scious­ness, so he could talk to her be­fore re­turn­ing home.

He asked Pak­ista­nis to back his party’s can­di­dates in the up­com­ing par­lia­men­tary elec­tions and called Fri­day’s rul­ing against him “strange”, say­ing none of his fam­ily mem­bers had mis­ap­pro­pri­ated gov­ern­ment funds.

It was the lat­est blow to Sharif, just weeks ahead of the elec­tions later this month and the first ver­dict against the em­bat­tled for­mer premier who has faced a string of tri­als since he was ousted from of­fice by the Supreme Court last year for con­ceal­ing as­sets abroad.

In Fri­day’s rul­ing, the court also sen­tenced Sharif ’s daugh­ter, Maryam Nawaz, to seven years. – AP/ANA

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