GIVING A BIG relief to former Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam; the Islamabad High Court on Wednesday suspended their sentences in the Avenfield corruption reference case and ordered their release from a high security prison.
The trio of Sharif, his daughter and his son in law will be released from Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi after completion of formalities by today or Thursday.
During the hearing, a two-judge bench accepted the appeals by the Sharifs and Capt Safdar against the verdict announced by the accountability court on July 6 and suspended their sentences. Justice Athar Minallah also directed Sharif, Maryam and Safdar to submit bail bonds worth Rs 0.5 million each.
While reading the judgment, Justice Athar Minallah of Islamabad High Court said that "the NAB, after conducting a thorough investigation, couldn't bring any evidence of Nawaz Sharif's ownership of the Avenfield apartments, but you want us to admit his ownership on mere presumption.''
Last week, Sharif and his daughter were temporarily released from prison to attend funeral services for his wife, Kulsoom, who died of cancer in London.
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.
The Supreme Court last year disqualified Sharif from holding the office of prime minister after the Panama Papers scandal.
Maryam Nawaz, his daughter and presumed political heir, was sentenced to seven years in prison on related charges, while son-in-law Safdar Awan was given a one-year sentence for not co-operating.
Both said they had broken no law and there was no proof the residences were purchased with money from corruption.
The conviction also barred them from seeking public office for up to 10 years after release.
The Accountability Court Islamabad in July this year sentenced Sharif, Maryam Nawaz and Safdar to 10, seven and two years in imprisonment after finding them guilty over the family’s ownership of four luxury flats in London. The Supreme Court last year disqualified Sharif from holding the office of prime minister after the Panama Papers scandal.
Sharif's party, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, which had been in power for five years, lost to the party of former cricket star Imran Khan.
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