IMPACT

Former Pakistan PM Sharif Sentenced To 10 Years Over Panama Papers

The historic corruption verdict against Pakistan’s former leader also included prison sentences for his daughter and son-in-law.

Former PM Nawaz Sharif

Former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been sentenced to 10 years in prison and fined $10.6 million on corruption charges linked to 2016 Panama Papers revelations about his family’s properties overseas.

The National Accountability Bureau, Pakistan’s anti-graft court, also has convicted Sharif’s daughter Maryam to a seven-year prison term and his son-in-law Muhammad Safdar to one year imprisonment.

Sharif and his daughter, who are currently in London, have continued to deny wrongdoing and said the sentence is “politically motivated,” according to the BBC. His brother Shahbaz, who heads the Pakistan Muslim League-N party, reportedly called the court’s decision “undemocratic.”

In April 2016, an International Consortium of Investigative Journalists’ probe based on files leaked from Panamanian offshore provider Mossack Fonseca revealed how Sharif’s children were linked to offshore companies that owned four flats in a luxury apartment block in London.

Those properties will be confiscated by the Pakistani government, according to the verdict.

In the wake of the allegations, Sharif was first disqualified from office in July 2017, then received a lifetime ban from politics in April 2018.

One of Sharif’s allies said that the disgraced premier would return to Pakistan to file an appeal, Reuters reported.

The convicted have 10 days to appeal the verdict at the Islamabad High Court.

In the meantime, political commentators have called the verdict historic, as it represents the first time a former Pakistani prime minister has been convicted of corruption.

Political author Zahid Hussain told CNN that the verdict marks “the end of the Sharif political dynasty.”

The sentence comes a few weeks before Pakistan’s general election on July 25.

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