The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) court on Friday convicted former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to 10 years of prison and a financial penalty of worth €8 million, while his daughter Maryam Nawaz was handed 7 years of imprisonment and a fine of £2 million, his son-in-law Safdar Awan was given 1 year sentence for not co-operating in the Avenfield reference corruption case.
After it came to light that the Sharif family had purchased several lavish apartments in London through offshore companies, Pakistan's Supreme Court found that the disgraced prime minister had failed to properly disclose his financial assets - several of which were "disproportionate to his means of income" - and disqualified him from office.
The timing of this sentencing is significant, coming just three weeks before the country's general elections on 25 July.
He said Sharif made Pakistan a nuclear power by rejecting global pressures and served this country.
The sentence, 10 years in prison and a fine of 8 million pounds, or $10.6 million, came nearly a year after Supreme Court removed Sharif from office and less than five months after the court barred him from holding office for life.
His daughter Maryam Nawaz, found guilty of abetment in obtaining high-end properties in London, has been given a seven-year sentence, in addition to disqualification from holding public office for ten years.
Commentators said the party, which has no other charismatic leader, will have difficulty winning enough seats to form a government and is likely to wind up in a weak coalition that will face challenges from both the powerful security establishment and rising religiously-based parties. The bureau registered the case on the basis of the Supreme Court's orders in its July 28 Panamagate verdict, which removed Sharif from the post of prime minister, reported Dawn. The PML-N sweeps back to power in an election the gives its allies a solid National Assembly majority. The party is now headed by Mr. Nawaz Sharif's brother Shahbaz Sharif.
"It is to be seen if this decision is written by a judge or a general", Safdar said. However, after being disqualified from contesting due to her conviction in the Avenfield reference case, the covering candidates of PML-N will vie for the seats. The judge also ordered the Sharif family's London properties confiscated.
Khan is running on a socially conservative, anti-corruption platform.
Yet the market remained largely calm yesterday as the accountability court kept delaying the announcement of the verdict throughout the day, first dropping 200 points into the red but closing at 45 points in the clear.