Published: Wed, September 19, 2018
World News | By Laverne Osborne

Pakistan court suspends prison sentence, frees ex-PM Sharif

Pakistan court suspends prison sentence, frees ex-PM Sharif

Sharif resigned as Pakistan prime minister past year after the Supreme Court disqualified him from holding public office and ruled that graft cases be filed against the beleaguered leader and his children over the Panama Papers scandal. A large number of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leaders, including Shehbaz Sharif, Pervaiz Rashid and Khurram Dastgir, were present in the courtroom for the hearing.

They reached Noor Khan Airbase amid stringent security from where they will leave for Lahore via a special plane.

Justice Athar Minallah read the judgment and suspended the sentences handed to them by accountability court judge Mohammad Bashir on July 6. The Court has earlier reserved the verdict after both sides concluded their arguments. However, they also summoned the hearing today.

"It also failed to prove how was Maryam Nawaz sentenced under the same charge sheet which convicted Nawaz Sharif".

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 again the prime minister ... for a record fourth time".

Justice Athar Minallah remarked that "the NAB, after conducting thorough investigation, couldn't bring any evidence of Nawaz Sharif's ownership of the Avenfield apartments, but you want us to admit his ownership on mere presumption". He said, "The agreement of money transfer turned out to be fake".

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Qureshi further argued that Maryam was living with her father as a dependent and so "the properties in her name presumably belonged to her father".

Sharif remains barred from running for public office for life, after the Supreme Court in April ruled that he had lied on a parliamentary wealth declaration and that the disqualification from that crime would last for an indefinite period. They were earlier sentenced to 10, seven and one year respectively in the case on July 6 by the Islamabad Accountability Court.

Maryam Nawaz and Captain (r) Safdar, who were candidates for the general elections 2018, were also disqualified from contesting elections for 10 years each.

Nawaz Sharif was convicted under section 9 (a)(5) of the NAB ordinance.

"Throughout the case, they and their political supporters have cast the allegations as part of a campaign to discredit the former premier - allegedly led by Pakistan's army, which has made little secret of its dislike for Sharif".

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