Who is Nawaz Sharif?
Nawaz Sharif is a Pakistani businessman and ex-politician who served as Prime Minister for three non-consecutive terms.
He was born into a wealthy industrialist family in Lahore and is currently one of the richest men in the country with a net worth of around £1billion.
Sharif served his first term as PM between 1990–93 and again in 1997 until he was removed in 1999 by a military takeover.
He was elected yet again in 2013 but disqualified for life by the Supreme Court over offshore investments in 2017.
What was Nawaz Sharif jailed for?
Sharif was sentenced to 10 years in prison for corruption linked to his family’s purchase of upscale London flats.
The guilty verdict was delivered in absentia against Sharif, 68, who is currently in London.
A political ally said Sharif, who would be arrested on arrival, will return to his home country to file an appeal.
A prosecutor said: “Today’s verdict shows that these Avenfield apartments were purchased using corruption money.”
Sharif’s daughter Maryam, widely seen as his chosen political heir, was sentenced to seven years in prison.
They were in London on Friday with his cancer-suffering wife Kulsoom, who has been in a coma since suffering a heart attack last month.
Both father and daughter deny wrongdoing and will appeal the decision, according to Sharif’s ally Tariq Fazal Chaudhry.
The court ordered Sharif to pay a fine of £8 million and fined Maryam £2million, while ordering the confiscation of the London properties.
What does this mean for the Pakistan elections?
Sharif’s imprisonment is a major blow to his PML-N party ahead of general elections on July 25.
The group is currently in a close race with opposition figure Imran Khan’s party.
Khan was a driving force behind Sharif’s downfall, seizing on the 2016 Panama Papers which revealed he bought the London apartments using offshore companies.
The Supreme Court agreed to investigate the Sharif family’s finances after Khan threatened street demonstrations to protest graft.
Sharif also has a history of conflict with the military even though his political career was initially nurtured by military dictator Zia ul-Haq in the 1980s.
He fell out with powerful generals once he ascended to power a decade later.
(Adapted from www.thesun.co.uk)