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

Charlene Craig
September 20, 2018

Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam and son-in-law captain Safdar jail terms have been suspended by Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday in Avenfield reference and ordered their release.

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. All three leaders later moved to Adiala Jail Rawalpindi. "The prisoners have been set free", Ishaq Cheema, an official at Adyala jail, told Reuters.

Sharif was temporarily released earlier this month to attend his wife's funeral. Sharif's party and others allege the July 25 polls were rigged to favor Khan, who is seen to be close to the army.

PMLN senior leader Ahsan Iqbal in his media talk said, "I thank God that Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz and Capt (retd) Safdar have succeeded today".

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Hamza further said that it had been proven that the accountability court's verdict against former premier Nawaz Sharif, his daughter and son-in-law was "weak".

"The prosecution has failed to show the properties belong to Nawaz Sharif", Justice Athar Minallah said, according to Reuters.

"The prosecutors in the case, the National Accountability Bureau, said they would appeal Wednesday's ruling and take the case against Sharif to the country's Supreme Court".

Nawaz returned to Pakistan in 2007 and took power once more in 2013, only to be ousted by the Supreme Court in July previous year. He was arrested on July 13 upon returning from London. 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.

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Last week they were released on a five-day parole to participate in the last rites of Begum Kulsoom Nawaz, Sharif's wife who passed away at a London hospital on September 11 after battling cancer for more than a year.

A two member bench, led by Minallah, suspended the jail sentences while hearing the Sharifs' appeal against their convictions.

Nawaz Sharif has also been banned from public office for life.

Sharif, a political survivor, was previously jailed after the 1999 coup by military ruler Pervez Musharraf.

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