Thursday, 24 October, 2019

Islamabad court orders release of Maryam and Nawaz Sharif

The decision was announced in the presence of all accused The decision was announced in the presence of all accused
Patty Aguilar | 19 September, 2018, 15:43

A Pakistani court on Wednesday ordered the release of ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter, suspending the jail sentences they received from a lower court in July and prompting celebrations among supporters waiting outside.

Maryam Nawaz and Captain (r) Safdar, who were candidates for the general elections 2018, were also disqualified from contesting elections for 10 years each.

The court's decision came petitions filed by former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Capt (retd) Safdar challenging the Avenfield verdict against them.

Supporters chanted "Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif!" outside the court after the decision was announced.

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

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The court was hearing an appeal by Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Mohammad Safdar against the sentences awarded to them on 6 July and also accepted their petitions, reported Dawn.

Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz were on parole last week for wife Kulsoom's funeral. Sharif was sentenced in absentia to 11 years in prison, while Maryam was sentenced to eight years and Safdar was sentenced to one years in prison in the Avenfield properties reference.

The sentences will remain suspended till the final adjudication of the appeals filed by the petitioners.

The case stemmed from the Panama Papers leak that disclosed expensive and undeclared property owned by the Sharif family in London.

Earlier, the Court has directed National Accountability Bureau (NAB) prosecutor Akram Qureshi to conclude his arguments within 30 minutes. An accountability court had found them guilty over his family's ownership of four luxury flats in London. "Does court announce verdict merely on basis of this myth?", remarked Justice Athar Minallah. 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. However, Qureshi had said that sitting on chairs exerts pressure on feet.

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