London: Hours after the pronouncement of the Avenfield reference case, former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said he was not a thief and would return to Pakistan soon after his wife, Kulsoom Nawaz regains consciousness.
Addressing a press conference in London, Sharif claimed that he was being punished because he was changing the legacy of Pakistan's 70-year-old history, The Dawn reported.
Expressing disappointment over the ruling, Sharif said that no petitions filed by him were approved. Vowing to fight against 'injustice', Sharif stated, "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 asserted 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", as per the report.
"The kind of struggle I started, these of types verdicts were expected," Sharif added. The three-time former prime minister did not give a specific date for returning to Pakistan. However, he said he would take a decision depending on his wife's health.
Sharif also expressed confidence that his party, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) was way ahead in all opinion polls ahead of the general elections on July 25. He urged the citizens of the country to support the party in times of adversity.
Sharif's daughter Maryam Nawaz was also present in the press conference. Sharif and Maryam are currently in London since June 14 visiting Kulsoom, who is suffering from cancer and is undergoing treatment there.
Sharif was sentenced to 10 years of imprisonment and a fine of eight million pounds on Friday in the Avenfield, while Maryam was sentenced to 7 years of jail and fined two million pounds.
With this ruling, Maryam is barred from contesting the general elections. Her husband Captain (retd) Muhammad Safdar was also sentenced to one year of imprisonment.
The verdict in the Avenfield reference case was read out by accountability court Judge Mohammad Bashir after postponing the announcement four times in a day. The case pertains to the ownership of Avenfield properties in London by the Sharif family.