Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supreme leader Mian Nawaz Sharif on Friday announced that he is returning to Pakistan hours after an accountability court awarded him a 10-year sentence in the Avenfield reference, ARY News reported.
Both Sharif and his daughter were in London on Friday with Sharif's wife, Kulsoom, who is being treated there for cancer and is in a coma after suffering a heart attack last month.
Sharif's name was not mentioned in the Panama papers that led to his disqualification and institution of corruption cases, he claimed.
Sharif was ousted from his third term as prime minister by the Supreme Court past year following a corruption investigation. He denies drawing the monthly salary.
The PML-N immediately rejected the verdict, calling it legally flawed.
Recent surveys show that up to 22 per cent of Pakistani voters are undecided ahead of July 25, he said, and with further serious allegations of corruption against the PML-N leadership there is little chance of Sharif mobilising the "sympathy factor" after the verdict to draw those voters in.
He said Sharif made Pakistan a nuclear power by rejecting global pressures and served this country.
"Sharif did not remember his wife while she was under treatment in London and he was holding public meetings across the country", the cricketer-turned-politician said.
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But he has kept de facto control of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party that he founded. "The timing of the judgment is an attempt to influence the upcoming elections", he told a press conference in Lahore.
He has framed the charges against him as a conspiracy by the powerful military, which has ruled Pakistan for roughly half its 70-year history. The Avenfield case was among the three corruption cases filed against the former premier and his children by the NAB on the Supreme Court's orders in the Panama Papers case which disqualified Sharif.
Khan is running on a socially conservative, anti-corruption platform.
1990 - Elected prime minister for the first time.
Nawaz Sharif and his daughter were in those apartments as they listened to the verdict. Imran Khan backs down from lockdown threat.
Soon after the verdict, Maryam, considered to be Sharif's heir apparent, took to Twitter to share this message: "This is a very small punishment for firmly standing in front of unseen forces".
He said he would continue his political struggle from behind bars if necessary, and urged the people to "break the chains by exercising their right to vote on July 25".