Nawaz, Maryam get 10 and seven years jail term in Avenfield case
Islamabad (TP): An accountability court in Islamabad on Friday sentenced former prime minister Nawaz Sharif for 10 years in jail and his daughter Maryam Nawaz for seven years in the Avenfield reference filed against them by the National Accountability Bureau.
Muhammad Safdar, the son-in-law of the former premier and Maryam’s husband, was given a one-year jail term in the same case.
Accountability Court Judge Muhammad Bashir also imposed a fine of eight million pounds on Sharif and two million pounds on Maryam for possessing assets beyond known sources of income and failing to prove the money trail that was used to purchase the London flats known as Avenfied property.
The trial court also ordered that the Avenfield property should be confiscated by the federal government.
After the conviction, Maryam Nawaz and Muhammad could not contest elections for at least 10 years. The convicts, Sharif and Maryam were not present in the court while they were represented by their respective counsels Khawaja Harris and Amjad Pervez.
The judgment and the convection could have far-reaching political implications for the Sharif family while elections are just around the corner. In case, Sharif and his daughter, who are currently in London to tend to the ailing Kulsoom Nawaz, return to the country, they could face arrests and if they decide to remain back, for time being, their political careers and their PML-N’s position could further weaken and their political opponents could exploit (their staying abroad) to further bashing them.
The jail sentence, according to some political pundits, could be appealed at the higher forum but heir was little chance that they would get any relief as Sharif has already antagonized and targeted the judiciary, accusing it of being biased against him and his immediate family. According to the political observers, Sharif and his daughter have two options, either they stay back in London to evade arrests or return to the country to face the arrests. Their arrests and subsequent jail term could politically go in their favour and they could maximum utilize the conviction to garner votes and public sympathy.