Pakistan court orders release of ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif

Political leadership reacted to the decision of the suspension of sentences of Sharifs

Political leadership reacted to the decision of the suspension of sentences of Sharifs

A top Pakistani court suspended Wednesday the jail sentences of former premier Nawaz Sharif, his daughter and son-in-law in a corruption case, according to media reports.

Sharif was temporarily released earlier this month to attend the funeral of his wife, Kulsoom Nawaz, who died at a London hospital after a long battle with cancer.

Former Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif, centre, arrives to attend the funeral prayer of his late wife Kulsoom Nawaz in Lahore on September 14, 2018.

During the hearing, Justice Miangul Minhalla said prosecutors had failed to bring any evidence of Nawaz Sharif's ownership of the Avenfield apartments, the four luxury flats in Park Lane, central London, at the heart of the case, and wanted the court to keep him jailed "on mere presumption". Javed Faisal, a close aide to Prime Minister Khan, pointed out that the court only suspended Sharif's sentence and those of his family members, and did not acquit them.




The Sharifs' convictions are still under appeal with the same Islamabad High Court, but a judge on Wednesday ruled they should be freed immediately while the case continues.

The accountability court on July 6 had announced the verdict in the Avenfield properties corruption reference filed by the National Accountability Bureau, handing the ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif 10 years as jail time for owning assets beyond known income and 1 year for not cooperating with NAB.

"Justice has been served and I congratulate Nawaz Sharif's supporters", former Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif said. Justice Aurangzeb questioned how Maryam was sentenced for the ownership of the Avenfield apartments alongside her father-as both can not be sentenced under the same indictment charges. He faced several court cases at home and was later convicted of concealing assets overseas.

Nawaz Sharif has also been banned from public office for life. Sharif later went into exile after striking a deal with the military and returned in 2007 to contest an election after Musharraf stepped down in the face of mass protests.

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