An accountability court in Pakistan today sentenced ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif to 10 years in prison in one of the three corruption cases against him in the high-profile Panama Papers scandal.
Sharif is now in London, where his wife is receiving medical treatment for cancer.
Sharif's name was not mentioned in the Panama papers that led to his disqualification and institution of corruption cases, he claimed.
But in the ruling that ousted Mr. Sharif from office a year ago, the Supreme Court concluded that he and his family members could not adequately explain how they were able to afford the expensive London apartments and that they failed to provide a money trail.
Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz wave at supporters in Islamabad. He denies drawing the monthly salary. The PML-N sweeps back to power in an election the gives its allies a solid National Assembly majority.
As per an election campaign travel log of party supremo Imran Khan, he will be making several campaign stops at 25 different cities of Punjab, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh ahead of the July 25 general election.
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"I will stand with the masses and stop those who are creating impediments in the way of the votes", he said, adding he had been punished because he tried to turn the course of Pakistan's 70-year history.
"If Sharif does not come back, his party is over", said political analyst Rasool Bukhsh Rais.
But he has kept control of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party that he founded.
Pakistan's military, which has ruled the nuclear-armed country for nearly half its history, denies involvement in civilian politics.
Sharif has argued that the military, in cahoots with top judges, has used cases against him and party members to tip the scales in favour of cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan ahead of the election.
The case stemmed from the Panama Papers leak that disclosed expensive and undeclared property owned by the Sharif family in London.
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1949 - Nawaz Sharif is born into a Kashmiri family of industrialists in the eastern city of Lahore.
He also said that the verdict showed that Avenfield apartments were purchased with corruption money and were in ownership of Sharif family since 1993.
The sentences mark a grim milestone for Sharif, who has seen his political fortunes fall with stunning speed in the past year.
After much delay, the accountability court of Islamabad on Friday finally announced the verdict.
"We are still deliberating the appeal option but I feel we should take it", said Senator Mushahid Ullah Khan, former federal minister and PML-N spokesperson.
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