Pakistani politics is in a state of turmoil, and the news that has emanated from the Islamic republic is disconcerting, to say the least. The former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif who was forced to resign last year on charges of corruption on orders of the Supreme Court has now been sentenced to 10 years of imprisonment for having property in London disproportionate to his income. His daughter Maryam who also happens to be his political heir has been given a seven years jail term. In addition, his son-in-law is given a one-year jail sentence.

The Sharif's have also been fined eight and two million pounds respectively. The court has directed that their property in London be sold. How that will be done remains to be seen. MSN has reported that both Sharif and his daughter are in London and for the moment are free. They are in London to look after the wife of Nawaz Sharif who is under treatment for cancer.

Nawaz Sharif has been Prime Minister of Pakistan three times. During his first innings he was removed, and during his second tenure, a Military coup was engineered against him by the very man he had appointed as the Army chief, General Musharraf. This time Sharif had completed four years of his term, but it was always on the cards then the military establishment was not very pleased with him.

BBC has reported that Nawaz Sharif has claimed that this punishment awarded to him is politically motivated.

Field is open

Nawaz Sharif and his daughter cannot now contest the general elections which are to be held in Pakistan on July 25. With Nawaz out of the way, the field seems to be open for Imran Khan, the leader of the Tehreek Party and to a lesser extent Bilawal Bhutto, the leader of the Pakistan Peoples Party.

The Army would definitely prefer Imran Khan, and he has been making the right noises. Bilawal Bhutto's grandfather Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was hanged by the Pakistani army generals led by General Zia ul Haq on charges of a political killing. Bilawal would not have forgotten it, and the army would also be remembering it. Therefore the choice for the army is clearly Imran Khan.

Unlucky Prime Minister

Nawaz Sharif is decidedly a very unlucky Prime Minister, as he has been unable to complete his term despite being the Prime Minister three times. After the coup by General Musharraf, he had to spend ten years in exile in Saudi Arabia. Ultimately Musharraf also paid the price of riding the tiger and had to resign as president. He was tried for various crimes until Army pressure allowed him to leave Pakistan. He is presently in Dubai. The general election on July 25, will be a watershed in Pakistan politics, and it will be interesting to watch who Leads the election result, but at the moment it does appear that's Nawaz days as a political leader is over and he may well have to spend the next few years of his life in London