Alwaght- Former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been found guilty of corruption and sentenced to 10 years in prison and a $10.5m fine, dealing a heavy blow to his political career.
Judge Muhammad Bashir read the verdict before a packed courtroom in the capital Islamabad on Friday.
The case relates to the ownership of four apartments in the upmarket Park Lane neighborhood in the British capital, London.
Sharif was dismissed as prime minister last July over corruption allegations, with the Supreme Court ordering the anti-corruption watchdog to launch proceedings against him and his family.
In 2016, an International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) leak of 11.5 million legal documents – dubbed the 'Panama Papers' – showed the Sharif family had secured a $13.8m loan in 2007, using the apartments as collateral.
Sharif’s daughter Maryam, also a political leader who has taken an increasingly frontline role in the party, was found to be involved in the ownership of a series of offshore companies, in whose name the properties were held.
On Friday, Maryam was also found guilty, and sentenced to seven years imprisonment and a $2.6m fine.
With this verdict, Maryam Nawaz now stands disqualified from standing in Pakistan's July general election as a candidate.
Her husband Muhammad Safdar was also sentenced to one year in prison, and will stand disqualified from running the upcoming polls.
Nawaz's brother, Shehbaz Sharif, the president of the PML-N political party, said the party rejected the verdict, and will use all legal and constitutional means to challenge the verdict.
"I believe that the timing of this verdict is an attempt to influence the outcome of the election," Shehbaz, a former chief minister of northern Punjab state, said at a press conference in the eastern city of Lahore.