Ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Friday evening made it clear that he would return to Pakistan to "face prison".

Referring to the 10-year jail sentence handed to him by the accountability court in Islamabad, he 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 also faces imprisonment upon her return to Pakistan — held a press conference in London hours after the verdict was announced against them in the Avenfield reference.

"I promise that I will continue this struggle until Pakistanis are 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 freed from 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 a sacrifice for the people of Pakistan. “I am asking the nation to stand 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 would have been easy for her to go down the path 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 I will not be welcomed with garlands for the issues I am raising my voice for. 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 Nawaz 10 years as jail time for owning assets beyond income and one year for not cooperating with NAB. The sentences will run concurrently which means the former prime minister will serve 10 years in jail.

His daughter Maryam Nawaz was given seven years for abetment, and one year for non-cooperation with the bureau — also to run concurrently; she will serve seven years in total.

Opinion

Editorial

A grave tragedy
Updated 08 Feb, 2023

A grave tragedy

It is hoped that Pakistan continues to send as many personnel and relief goods as needed to Turkiye, Syria.
Pharma shutdown
08 Feb, 2023

Pharma shutdown

IN the midst of an economic and political maelstrom, a fresh crisis threatens the availability of drugs in the...
PSL season
Updated 08 Feb, 2023

PSL season

PSL has provided a launching pad for several of the team’s current stars, and for them, hitting top form will be key.
No pardon for rape
Updated 07 Feb, 2023

No pardon for rape

Cultural filters and biases can often lead to faulty applications of the law.
Health insurance
07 Feb, 2023

Health insurance

THE planning ministry is reported to have raised objections to Punjab’s flagship universal health coverage...
The people’s demands
07 Feb, 2023

The people’s demands

AS the people of KP are literally on the frontline of the battle against terrorism and violent extremism, they are...