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Avenfield corruption case: 'Returning to Pakistan to face prison', says Sharif after conviction

By Deepika

London, July 6: Ousted Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif said this evening that he is not a thief and that he will return to Pakistan soon.

"I will continue my struggle from jail. This is a part of the struggle," Sharif told reporters in London.

Nawaz Sharif

Addressing a press conference in London along with his daughter Maryam, Sharif said, "I promise that I will continue this struggle until Pakistanis are not free of the chains that they are kept in for saying the truth."

"I will continue my struggle till the people of Pakistan are not freed of the slavery imposed on them by some generals and judges," he was quoted as saying by the Dawn.

Nawaz remarked that if the punishment for "demanding respect for the vote is jail, I am coming to face it".

Both of them were convicted by an accountability court in Pakistan today in one of the four cases of corruption against Nawaz Sharif - the Avenfield corruption case, which is related to the ownership of four flats in the posh Avenfield House in London. Maryam Sharif was sentenced to seven years in prison.

Nawaz Sharif was sentenced in absentia to 10 years of rigorous imprisonment and fined eight million pounds by an accountability court in one of the three corruption cases against him in the high-profile Panama Papers scandal. His daughter and co-accused Maryam was given seven years of rigorous imprisonment and a fine of two million pounds, while Sharif's son-in-law Capt (retd) Muhammad Safdar was jailed for one year.

The court delivered the verdict after postponing it for four times in the Avenfield corruption case -- pertaining to the ownership of four flats in the posh Avenfield House in London.

Sharif, 68, is in London attending to his wife Kulsoom Nawaz who was diagnosed with throat cancer last year. The ruling came weeks before the general elections in Pakistan on July 25.

Islamabad-based accountability court judge Mohammad Bashir pronounced the verdict behind closed doors. The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) prosecution team chief Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi provided details of the judgement.

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