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'I am coming to Pakistan to face prison,' says defiant Nawaz after guilty verdict


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Updated06/07/18  
DawnNews
Ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif, referring to the 10-year prison sentence handed to him on Friday morning by an accountability court in Islamabad, said that he has been punished because he tried to turn the course of Pakistan's 70-year history.
Sharif, along with his daughter Maryam Nawaz — who was also handed prison time — held a press conference in London hours after the verdict in the corruption reference was announced.
"I promise that I will continue this struggle until Pakistanis are not free of the chains that they are kept in for saying the truth," Nawaz said.
"I will continue my struggle till the people of Pakistan are not freed of the slavery imposed on them by some generals and judges," he added.
Nawaz remarked that if the punishment for "demanding respect for the vote is jail, I am coming to face it", adding that he will "not be a slave to those who violate their oath and the Constitution of Pakistan".
Nawaz, however, did not give any specific time or date for his return to Pakistan. When asked, the former premier mentioned the deteriorating health of his wife Kulsoom Nawaz as the reason for him not being able to return immediately.
Responding to a question, Nawaz said he was rendering sacrifice for the people of Pakistan. “I am asking the nation to come with me in this defining moment and not abandon me,” he said.
“Let’s change Pakistan, we have been waiting for this day for a long time, it is here now and there is no room for hesitation.”
Commenting on the verdict, Maryam Nawaz said it was easy for her to take the way of reconciliation like her contemporaries in politics "and not say anything against anyone and have a bright future", but she decided against it.
"I knew that the issues for which I am raising voice, I will not be welcomed with garlands. But someone had to light the first flame which we have," she maintained.
Earlier in the day, the accountability court announced the verdict in the Avenfield properties corruption reference filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), handing ousted Nawaz Sharif 10 years as jail time for owning assets beyond income and 1 year for not cooperating with NAB.
His daughter Maryam Nawaz was given 7 years for abetment, and 1 year for non-cooperation with the bureau — also to run concurrently; she will serve 7 years in total.



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