Shehbaz slams court verdict against Sharif, says people's court will exonerate them
Islamabad, Jul 6 : Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz president Shehbaz Sharif today rejected the accountability court's verdict against his brother and ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his family, saying the people's court will exonerate them on July 25 when the elections will be held.
The National Accountability Bureau today sentenced Nawaz Sharif to 10 years of rigorous imprisonment and fined him eight million pounds in the Avenfield corruption case linked to the high-profile Panama Papers scandal.
Sharif's daughter and co-accused Maryam was given seven years of rigorous imprisonment and a fine of two million pounds. Her husband Capt (retd) Muhammad Safdar was jailed for one year.
"Pakistani people and PML-N reject this verdict. It will be written in black words...This will be remembered as a black day in history," Shehbaz said minutes after the verdict was pronounced after multiple delays.
He said the party will challenge the ruling first in the high court and later in the Supreme court.
"Decisions of court should be accepted by all; they should not be based the concept of pick and choose," he said.
Shehbaz the former Chief Minister of the Punjab province, said the decision was against justice and human rights as no proof was given against Sharif by the prosecution team of National Accountability Bureau (NAB).
Sharif's name was not mentioned in the Panama papers that led to his disqualification and institution of corruption cases, he claimed.
Shehbaz criticised NAB for ignoring corruption cases worth billions of rupees and just focussing on one case.
He said Sharif made Pakistan a nuclear power by rejecting international pressures and served this country.
"The way this son of the soil was treated today, he does not deserve it," he said.
Shehbaz said the actual verdict will be given on July 25 when the elections will be held.
"Sharif will be exonerated by the people's court," he said.
He urged candidates of PML-N to continue their campaigning for the upcoming elections and also protest peacefully against the verdict.
He said the decision was also an effort to influence the upcoming elections.
Islamabad-based accountability court judge Mohammad Bashir pronounced the verdict behind closed doors.
The verdict was delivered in the absence of Sharif, 68, who is in London attending to his wife Kulsoom Nawaz who was diagnosed with throat cancer last year.
Three-time prime minister Sharif resigned as Pakistan prime minister last year after the Supreme Court disqualified him from holding public office and ruled that graft cases be filed against the beleaguered leader and his children over the Panama Papers scandal.
The Avenfield case was among the three corruption cases filed against the former premier and his children by the NAB on the Supreme Court's orders in the Panama Papers case which disqualified Sharif.