Nawaz, Maryam, Capt Safdar released after suspension of Avenfield sentence by IHC

Published: September 19, 2018
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PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE

PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE

ISLAMABAD: Hours after the Islamabad High Court (IHC) suspended the sentences against them, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law retired captain Mohammad Safdar were released on bail from Rawalpindi’s Adiala Jail Wednesday evening.

Earlier in the day, a division bench comprising Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb also allowed petitions filed by the Sharif family members against the accountability court’s July 6 verdict in Avenfield reference case which found them guilty of corruption and sentenced them to imprisonment and fines.

Soon after the three leaders walked free, PML-N workers took to the streets dancing, distributing sweets and raising slogans in favour of the verdict.

A large number of party workers also gathered outside the Rawalpindi jail when Nawaz along with Maryam and Safdar were taken to the Islamabad airport amid tight security.

Later in the night, the three PML-N leaders reached Jati Umra, the residence of the Sharif family in Lahore.

NAB moves SC to block Sharifs’ suspension plea before IHC

“The instant writ petition is allowed and sentence awarded to the petitioners by the accountability court shall remain suspended till the final adjudication of the appeal filed by the petitioner,” reads the judgment. “The petitioner shall be released on bail subject to furnishing bail bonds in the sum of Rs500,000 with one surety in the amount to the satisfaction of deputy registrar of the high court.”

The order allowed the release of Nawaz, Maryam and Captain Safdar after submission of Rs0.5 million bond each. They had been in prison since July 13.

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The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chairman Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal said that NAB will appeal in the apex court against the IHC’s verdict.

The hearing was attended by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) president Shehbaz Sharif along with Mushahiddullah Khan, Raja Zafarul Haq, Khawaja Asif, Ahsan Iqbal and others.

Shortly after the verdict was announced, Nawaz’s younger brother tweeted a Quranic verse to express gratitude on suspension of the sentences. While Asif termed the IHC judgment a “victory for justice”.

Speaking to The Express Tribune, Attorney General of Pakistan Anwar Mansoor Khan said the verdict was “expected and nothing out of the ordinary”.

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In the July 6 decision, Accountability Judge Muhammad Bashir had sentenced Nawaz to 10 years rigorous imprisonment (RI), Maryam to 7 years RI and Safdar to one-year (RI). The accused were also disqualified to contest elections or to hold public office for a period of 10 years after release.

Following the accountability court’s judgment in the Avenfield reference, the Sharifs’ filed separate petitions through counsel Khawaja Haris and Amjad Pervaiz requesting the high court to suspend sentences and set aside the verdict.

Sharif’s suspension petitions not maintainable: NAB

The petitions moved the onus of proof from the accused to the prosecution. In the course of court proceedings, the IHC mulled whether the conviction can be based on presumption as NAB continued to raise objections over the maintainability of the petitions.

The anti-graft watchdog also moved the Supreme Court to block the Avenfield verdict suspension pleas before the IHC. However, the top court penalised NAB for filing a “frivolous” petition and fined the anti-graft watchdog Rs20,000.

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Reader Comments (6)

  • Syedpk
    Sep 19, 2018 - 3:25PM

    Is this article written by a single person??

    The whole article correctly uses Past tense, while one line of one paragraph is in present tense !

    PML-N president Shehbaz Sharfi is present in the courtroom along with Mushahiddullah Khan, Raja Zafarul Haq and others as the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) prosecutor concluded his arguments.

    Do you guys even proofread the articles?Recommend

  • Khan muhammad
    Sep 19, 2018 - 4:26PM

    The dynasty of the corrupt will continue to rule to the insipid masses of Pakistan. Recommend

  • Aamir
    Sep 19, 2018 - 4:41PM

    Bravo NS!Recommend

  • Yusuf Alavi
    Sep 19, 2018 - 7:58PM

    Dear Sir, just heard and read on the internet that Mr Sharif, Maryam and his son in law were released on bail by IHC,?, what is happening, is this joke, it’s direct insult to Chief Justice of Supreme Court against, the verdict by all Judge’s by all the Judges of the Supreme Court. Please send him back to Barrack’s, and most of all Mr Shehzab Sharif celebrating,. It’s a shame what sort of people are they. It’s mockery of the Law.Recommend

  • Terba
    Sep 19, 2018 - 8:26PM

    The rich and mighty shall do whatever they want in this country and then go scot-free. In Pakistan, the law is only for the weak and powerless.Recommend

  • Roshanali
    Sep 20, 2018 - 1:04AM

    @Khan muhammad:
    I agree. ‘Yaaro’ this is Pakistan!!!

    One wonders if ever, corruption in Pakistan be wiped out?!Recommend

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