Avenfield Case: IHC suspends jail term of Nawaz, Maryam, and Safdar

Arturo Kim
September 20, 2018

Former Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif was released from prison late Wednesday to be met by jubilant supporters after a court suspended his prison sentence for corruption pending an appeal hearing.

The Islamabad High Court, hearing a petition from Mr. Sharif's lawyers, said Wednesday he should be set free on bail pending his appeal, according to the court order.

The court suspended the sentences of Sharif and his daughter Maryam after they were convicted in July just before Pakistan held its general election.

Sharif had been sentenced to 10 years in jail and a $10.5m fine, his daughter Maryam to a seven-year jail sentence and a $2.6m fine, and Maryam's husband Safdar to a year in prison.

He said Mian Nawaz Sharif was jailed in order to pave the way Imran Khan, the incumbent prime minister.

The two-judge bench also ordered the accused to submit bail bonds worth Rs. 500,000 each.

Sharif was briefly released from prison earlier this month to attend the funeral of his wife, Kulsoom Nawaz, who died of cancer in London and was buried in Lahore.

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Apart from the Avenfield case, the Sharifs face jail terms if they are convicted in two more corruption cases related to Al-Azizia and Flagship cases.

The court also dismissed the National Accountability Bureau's request to first announce a judgment on the maintainability of the pleas.

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".

In July 2017, the Pakistani Supreme Court disqualified Sharif from office over corruption allegations.

The NAB was also pulled up by the Supreme Court on Monday when it rejected its petition challenging the IHC's decision to hear Sharifs' petitions against the Avenfield verdict. 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.

Shahbaz Sharif, who headed the PML-N after his brother's imprisonment, tweeted a verse from the Koran in Arabic that said: "Truth has come and falsehood has departed".

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