Pakistan's deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Friday said he has been punished because he tried to turn the course of Pakistan's 70-year history.
Sharif was sentenced in absentia to 10 years of rigorous imprisonment by an anti-graft court in Pakistan in one of the three corruption cases against him in the Panama Papers scandal, dealing a huge blow to his party ahead of the elections on July 25.
Addressing a press conference in London along with his daughter Maryam, Sharif said, "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."
"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 was quoted as saying by the Dawn.
Nawaz remarked that if the punishment for "demanding respect for the vote is jail, I am coming to face it".
Sharif's 44-year-old daughter and co-accused Maryam was also given seven years for abetment, and one year for non-cooperation with the anti-corruption bureau — also to run concurrently. Considered to be Sharif's political heir, Maryam will serve seven years in total.
Sharif's son-in-law Capt (retd) Muhammad Safdar was jailed for one year for not cooperating with the anti-graft authorities.
The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had filed the case, along with two others, on the Supreme Court's directives in the landmark Panamagate verdict last year which disqualified Sharif, the three-time prime minister.
Sharif, 68, is currently in London attending to his wife Kulsoom Nawaz who was diagnosed with throat cancer last year.