In a major blow to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN), the Accountability Court on Sunday convicted former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to 10 years of imprisonment and slapped a fine worth €8 million, while daughter Maryam Nawaz was handed seven years of jail term in the Avenfield reference corruption case. The verdict was part of the Avenfield properties reference case filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). Alongwith Sharif, his son-in-law Capt (retd) Safdar was given a one year sentence.
What is Avenfield reference?
After the disqualification of Nawaz Sharif as Pakistan’s prime minister in the Panama case in July 2017, the NAB, filed three corruption references against the Sharif family. The Avenfield reference pertains to the purchase of four flats in Avenfield House, Park Lane, London. Along with the former Pakistani premiere, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Capt Safdar was also named in the case. According to Dawn, the NAB prosecutor had stated before the accountability court that Nawaz Sharif had acquired the four flats. However, the Sharif family insisted that the flats were purchased through legitimately. Nawaz Sharif conviction LIVE updates
The Sharif family, however, failed to declare the financial resources with which they claimed to have purchased the flats. According to the JIT report submitted in the Panamagate case, the Sharifs have given contradictory statements about their London flats and found that the flats actually belonged to them since 1993. The report said Hassan Nawaz had contradicted the statement of his brother Hussain Nawaz about the Avenfield apartments, who had earlier stated that only apartment No 17 was in his possession in 1994. Contrarily, Hassan confirmed that three Avenfield apartments (No 16, 16A and 17) were already in possession of Hussain when he had arrived in London in 1994, while they got the possession of the fourth apartment (17A) in the next six months, Dawn reported.
The JIT in its observation concluded that either one or both the brothers were lying in the matter.
With the conviction of both Maryam Nawaz and Capt Safdar in the case, they stand debarred from contesting the upcoming Parliamentary elections in Pakistan which will dampen the hopes of PMLN which was planning to make a comeback to power.