Islamabad High Court suspends jail term of Nawaz Sharif, daughter Maryam, son-in-law; trio to be freed
By FnF Desk | PUBLISHED: 19, Sep 2018, 17:42 pm IST | UPDATED: 19, Sep 2018, 19:51 pm IST
The Islamabad High Court Wednesday suspended the sentences handed to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Mohammad Safdar in the Avenfield corruption reference case.
The trio 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.
The National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) special prosecutor Mohammad Akram Qureshi argued that the High Court could not have entertained petitions seeking suspension of sentence after the fixation of appeals against the conviction of the Sharif family in the case, Dawn reported.
While suspending the sentences, Justice Athar Minallah remarked that the NAB couldn’t bring any evidence of Sharif’s ownership of the Avenfield apartments. “The NAB, after conducting a thorough investigation, couldn’t bring any evidence of Nawaz Sharif’s ownership of the Avenfield apartments. You want us to admit his ownership on mere presumption,” Minallah asked.
To this, Qureshi said the “law of evidence empowers the court to presume facts in certain situations”. The leader of the Opposition and Sharif’s younger brother, Shahbaz Sharif, took to Twitter to share a verse from Surah Al-Isra, “Truth has come, and falsehood has departed. Indeed is falsehood, (by nature), ever bound to depart.”
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.