Less than three weeks prior to the General Elections 2018 of Pakistan, Sharifs have been sentenced to 11 years in jail. And its nothing less than a knockout blow for PML-N. Despite being the largest political force in Pakistan with the three-time elected prime minister, PML-N is nothing but a spent-force now which relied heavily and solely on playing the victim card. From blaming the institutions of Pakistan to using the terminal illness of his wife to his benefit, he used every viable option to avoid the looming and highly anticipated sentence.
The walls are closing in fast on PML-N, and we owe it to Imran Khan, PTI Chief, who sealed the fate of this nefarious lot of politics.
Pakistan’s Accountability Court today sentenced the former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif, to 10-year in prison regarding one of the three disparaging bodies of evidence against him in the Panama Papers. In addition to serving jail sentences, Sharif would also pay 8-million pound as fine. Avenfield apartment would also be confiscated by Pakistan, and from this day onward, the most luxurious residences of England are the property of Pakistan now.
When, years ago, PTI Chief Imran Khan started questioning Sharif’s Mayfair Apartments, either people laughed at him or doubted his sanity. Even PTI’s own leadership, initially, was not in favor of going to courts for putting Mian Muhamad Nawaz Sharif; a three-time Prime Minister of Pakistan, behind bars. It was considered nothing but a wishful thought of Khan. But his perseverance won. The same spirit with which he made Shaukat Khanum Hospital.
Gone are the days when Pakistan could be exploited in the hands of corrupt and political elites. Pakistan is no more a banana republic, it’s rising like a phoenix from the ashes as a sovereign state with its laws intact and effective. A deep cleansing process has been evoked. Powerful-corrupts are no more the holy cows, only the laws of Pakistan reign supreme.
Yesterday, Sharif’s principal secretary, Fawad Hasan Fawad, was caught by NAB and jailed. PML-N primarily survives on their hand-picked Punjab bureaucracy and with the support of the establishment, they collapse like the house of cards if this mechanism is not in place. If we remember 2002 elections, PML-N defected to PML-Q, with only 19 seats in provincial assembly after securing a heaving mandate in 1997 and coup in 1999.
Honorable Judge, Muhammad Bashir, of the accountability court, announced the verdict on Avenfield reference filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) against Sharifs in alignment with the Supreme Court verdict on Panama Papers case. The verdict was made in absentia of Sharif and his family.
In a quick overview:
The Avenfield reference is one of three- corruption references logged against the disqualified former Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, his three children, son-in-law; and the absconder and grafter, the former finance minister Ishaq Dar, in pursuance of the Supreme Court’s decision in the Panama Papers case of 2017. The decision of the case was based on the JIT report
The current case, in which Sharifs have been convicted, is connected to the Park Lane heights; flats no. 16, 16-A, 17, an Avenfield House in the United Kingdom; next to Hyde Park on the edge of the London’s most affluent district, Mayfair.
Charges against Sharifs
As revealed by the Panama Papers, Avenfield assets were claimed by shell organizations.
In 2008, Sharif’s daughter, Maryam and sons Hussain utilized the returns of those two organizations and a third BVI conglomerate, Coomber Group, to raise a £7M credit from the Swiss arm of Deutsche Bank.
Three references were documented against Sharifs. Nawaz and children; Maryam, Hussain, and Hasan, were censured in every one of the three references, though Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law, Safdar, have also been charged, in addition to the Avenfielf Case, in the forgery case of Caliber font.
Initially, in the parliament and on media, Sharifs categorically denied all charges leveled against them. They repeatedly asserted that their riches were legitimately picked up, during the trial. They told the courts that the family purchased the property in 2006 after selling a paper mill in Saudi Arabia.
The indictment of the accountability court determined that Sharif family acquired the luxury flats through unlawful sources, however, the charges have been denied by their lead counsel, Khawaja Haris.
In a quick round-up, Nawaz Sharif showed up before NAB 107 times and Maryam Nawaz showed up for 80. Sharifs in Avenfield case were interrogated with more than 100 questions.
As of now, Sharif along with his children, except for his son-in-law Captain (retd.) Safdar is in London to attend to his better-half, Kulsoom Nawaz, who has been diagnosed with stage-4 throat tumor and is currently on the ventilator.
The court likewise slapped 8 million pounds (USD 10 million) fine on Nawaz Sharif, whereas, Maryam Nawaz, was fined 2 million pounds (USD 2.6 million).
According to the sources, the Sharifs alongside previous Finance Minister, Ishaq Dar, were watching the news on TV in London in the same Avenfield pads for which they have been convicted. Whereas, Captain (retd.) Safdar is in Pakistan and was last seen in Mansehra conducting a corner meeting for the upcoming GE-2018. As of now, his cell phone is not in range and the convicted criminal is on the loose. But according to NAB, their arrangements are complete to catch the convicted criminals; two upon their return from London at the airport, and one from Pakistan.
The disqualified PM and his daughter had moved yesterday an application looking for the delay in the pronouncement of the decision by seven days encashing the failing health of Kulsoom Nawaz. But the request was declined this morning by the honorable judge, Muhammad Bashir, prior to the announcement of the decision.
Not a handful of people came out on roads in protest of the decision from PML-N. Not a single former PML-N minister appeared on media to denounce the decision. Except for Shahbaz Sharif, President of PML-N and his younger brother, came out in public to resist the decision in small and brief press-conference.
It’s the height of embarrassment and shame that three-time Prime Minister, Sharif, was compelled to abandon his office a year ago when the Supreme Court of Pakistan barred him from holding any public office or party leadership.
The disclosure of Panama papers, the perseverance of Imran Khan, the fortitude of the institutions of Pakistan set a judicial landmark; unthought of and unheard of in the political history of Pakistan.