Pak court orders release of Nawaz Sharif, daughter; suspends jail term

Nawaz Sharif daughter Maryam Nawaz to be released Islamabad HC suspends jail sentences

Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz and her husband Captain (retd) Safdar, were convicted by an accountability court in the Avenfield reference case on July 6.

Sixty-nine days after his dramatic return to Pakistan to face ten years behind bars, Sharif emerged from Adiala prison, Rawalpindi, flanked by his daughter Maryam and surrounded by hundreds of supporters.

"After it came to light that the Sharif family had purchased several lavish apartments in London through offshore companies, Pakistan's Supreme Court found that the disgraced prime minister had failed to properly disclose his financial assets - several of which were "disproportionate to his means of income" - and disqualified him from office".

They were charged with corrupt practices linked to the Sharif family's ownership of luxury flats in London. Moreover, the workers showered rose petals on the convoy of Nawaz Sharif as it left the prison premises. The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz has alleged that Sharif has been kept in the abysmal condition in the jail and deprived of even the basic facilities. The floor where Sharif was admitted was declared a sub-jail and no one was allowed to meet him.

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

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The convictions are still under appeal with the same court, but the judge said they should be freed immediately while the case continues. Dozens of jubilant supporters chanted "Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif!" outside the court. Mushahidullah Khan, a close aide to Sharif.

"This is a triumph of justice", said Sharif ally and former Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif who was outside the court. He faced several court cases at home and was later convicted of concealing assets overseas. The charges stemmed from leaked papers from a Panama law firm.

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".

In opposition, Khan was a vocal supporter of the legal cases that removed Sharif from office.

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