Ex-Pakistan PM is freed from jail ten weeks into 10-year sentence

Ex-Pakistan PM Sharif is freed from jail ten weeks into ten year sentence while he and other imprisoned family members appeal their corruption convictions

  • The family were supposed to be serving a combined sentence of 18-years
  • The two judge panel ordered the family to pay a bond of £3,000 each
  • Sharif was temporarily released earlier this month to attend his wife’s funeral

Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter and son-in-law were released from prison yesterday, after a court suspended their sentences and granted them bail pending their appeal hearings.

The Islamabad High Court made the decision after the family petitioned to appeal their sentences, which were handed to them earlier this year following a corruption case.

The three were released from a prison in the garrison city of Rawalpindi. Sharif had been serving ten years, his daughter Maryam seven, while his son-in-law Mohammad Safdar was meant to be serving just one year.

Nawaz Sharif (pictured) has had his prison sentence suspended

The two-judge panel headed by Justice Athar Minallah ordered that Sharif, Maryam Nawaz and Mohammad, be released once they each posted a bond of half a million rupees, or about £3,000.

In the evening, the three were released from the prison, where many party leaders and a large crowd of supporters gathered to receive them.

Television footage showed a security vehicle driving them through a massive crowd of supporters, some showering rose petals on the vehicle while others waved party flags and chanted slogans.

Some supporters showered Sharif’s vehicle with rose petals as they drove to the family’s estate

They later arrived at the family’s estate in the Lahore suburbs.

This latest development is a twist in a series of scandals involving the former Prime Minister, which first began when he was ousted from office last year, following several corruption cases.

In July last year the Pakistani Supreme Court disqualified Sharif from office over corruption allegations. He faced several court cases at home and was later convicted of concealing assets abroad.

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The charges stemmed from leaked papers from a Panama law firm. Sharif faced two more cases before the anti-graft tribunal and has been banned for life from public office.

When the anti-graft tribunal first convicted and sentenced Sharif on July 6, he was in London with his daughter, visiting his critically ill wife. The father and daughter returned home a week later and were taken to prison to serve their sentences.

Sharif was temporarily released earlier this month to attend his wife’s funeral.

Sharif was temporarily released from prison earlier this month to attend his wife’s funeral (pictured)

Later in July, Sharif’s party, the Pakistan Muslim League, lost in parliamentary elections and has now taken on the mantle of opposition party to new Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government.

The National Accountability Bureau, said they would appeal Wednesday’s ruling and take the case against Sharif to the country’s Supreme Court.

Following the judges’ decision on Sharif and his family, supporters rushed to the court in jubilation, chanting pro-Sharif slogans and waving banners and posters of the ex-premier.

Supporters of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif pray as they celebrate after a court ordered his release

Outside the court, former foreign minister Khawaja Asif said Sharif’s release was a ‘triumph of justice’.

Another supporter in the crowd, Naveed Abbasi, said he is convinced Sharif was a victim of conspiracy but that, ‘God willing, the people will make Nawaz Sharif the Prime Minister again … for a record fourth time.’

Reacting to the decision, Sen. 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.

Supporters of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif celebrate after a court ordered his release, in Karachi, Pakistan

‘Their supporters should not celebrate so much as they will likely have to go again to Adiala prison,’ Faisal said.

However, analysts saw the decision as a definite boost for Sharif’s party and supporters.

Ahsan Iqbal, Sharif party lawmaker and former interior minister, said the anti-graft tribunal had convicted Sharif, his daughter and son in-law without any legal grounds, but ‘based on a vendetta.’

Sharif never completed any of his three terms as prime minister. His first government was dismissed by the then-President Ghulam Ishaq Khan in 1993 on corruption charges and his second government was toppled by Gen. Pervez Musharraf in a bloodless coup in October 1999.

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