Pakistani Court Orders Former Prime Minister Sharif Freed on Bail

Geraldine Edwards
September 20, 2018

On Wednesday, Islamabad High Court judge Athar Minallah ruled that the National Accountability Bureau, Pakistan's anti-corruption watchdog, was unable to prove a financial link between the former prime minister and the apartments in question.

Pakistan's former prime minister Nawaz Sharif was freed from jail tonight after a court suspended his sentence for corruption pending an appeal.

Their convictions will stand, although their sentences have been suspended, while the court has not yet released a detailed judgement explaining the decision.

A Pakistani supporter of ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif shouts slogans outside the high court in Islamabad
Nawaz Sharif, daughter Maryam Nawaz to be released, Islamabad HC suspends jail sentences

Supporters of former Prime Minister Nawaz Saharif gather and shower rose petals over a vehicle carrying Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz after their release from Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi, Pakistan September 19, 2018.

Ousted as prime minister last year by the Supreme Court over some undeclared income, Nawaz Sharif was in London with Kulsoom this year when a separate anti-graft court handed him a 10-year jail term in absentia over the ownership of luxury flats in London in the 1990s.

"This is a triumph of justice", said Sharif ally and former Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif who was outside the court.

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The Bench ordered their release and directed them to submit bail bonds worth Rs.0.5 million each. The release prompted celebrations among their supporters outside the court.

Leader of the Opposition and Nawaz's younger brother, Shahbaz Sharif, following the verdict took to Twitter to share a verse from Surah Al-Isra [17:81]: "Truth has come, and falsehood has departed".

The ruling comes nearly two months after Sharif's party lost a general election to the party of new Prime Minister Imran Khan.

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According to the verdict, she "aided, assisted, abetted, attempted and acted in conspiracy with her father".

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

Qureshi responded that the "law of evidence empowers the court to presume facts in certain situations".

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The newspaper reported that the court reminded the prosecutor that "there is a room of giving the benefit of the doubt to the accused".

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