ISLAMABAD / LAHORE: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Captain (retd) Muhammad Safdar were released on parole in the wee hours of Wednesday, after the death of Begum Kulsoom Nawaz.
A notification issued by the Punjab Home Department said the three were released for 12 hours to attend the funeral of Begum Kulsoom. “The duration of permission granted shall not exceed 12 hours – which shall not include the time consumed from journey to and from the prison,” notifications read.
It forbids the prisoners to leave permitted venue: Jati Umra in Raiwand. According to legal experts the parole time could be extended up to 72 hours as per Pakistan Prison Rules 1978.
Following the notification, Nawaz, Maryam and Safdar were flown to Lahore from Noor Khan airbase.
The decision to release the Sharifs came on an application moved by Nawaz’s younger brother Shehbaz Sharif.
The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) issued a statement on Tuesday extending “all-out support” to the Sharif family “in accordance with the law”. The statement added that the Pakistani High Commissioner in the United Kingdom had been directed to assist the bereaved family.
Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Special Assistant on Political Affairs Naeemul Haq told The Express Tribune that the government would positively respond to the Sharif family’s request for release of its imprisoned family members to attend the funeral, however, Federal Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry had clarified that under the amended rules in Punjab, parole of a convict could not exceed 12 hours.
“There was a provision to release convicts on parole for a maximum of three days but the relevant law was amended. The temporary release is granted for not more than 12 hours. While living within the ambit of laws, Sharif family will be extended all-out cooperation,” he said.
He added the government had no objection to the approval of a parole application.
Shehbaz’s departure for London
Shehbaz will likely leave for London early Wednesday morning to collect the body of Kulsoom Nawaz for burial. Sources said her body was temporarily moved to a mortuary in London. Her funeral will be held on Friday.
Shortly after the demise of Kulsoom, the former chief minister flew to Rawalpindi to meet his elder brother Nawaz at the Adiala Jail. The Sharif brothers discusses funeral arrangements in detail and agreed that Hassan and Hussain would not travel to Pakistan.
Nawaz and Kulsoom’s sons were declared absconders by an accountability court hearing corruption references filed by National Accountability Bureau in lieu of Supreme Court’s verdict in Panama Papers case. They will be arrested as soon as they land in Pakistan.
Sources said her funeral will be held on Friday and she will be buried at the Sharif family’s graved in Jati Umra on the same day.
Parole is a method under which the punishment of a convict is temporarily suspended for a specific time and he/she is set free for a defined purpose under the supervision of police officials.
Rules provide that prisoner’s family submits an application with provincial parole committee that considers it and with its comments forwards it to the home secretary who has the authority to accept or reject it.
In 2004, Sharif and his family members, including Punjab former chief minister Shehbaz Sharif, had not attended the funeral of their father, Mian Sharif. At that time, the Sharif family was in exile. In 2002, former president Asif Ali Zardari was released on parole from Adiala jail to attend funeral of his mother.