IHC suspends Avenfield verdict, orders to release Sharifs'

Suspending Nawaz Sharif's sentence the Islamabad High Court told the prosecution that there is room of giving him the benefit of doubt

Suspending Nawaz Sharif's sentence the Islamabad High Court told the prosecution that there is room of giving him the benefit of doubt

Ordering their release, the two-judge bench directed the former premier, his daughter and son-in-law to submit bail bonds worth Rs0.5 million each.

United Arab Emirates (UAE) authorities have also not verified the transfer of the money, he added. Subsequently appeals were filed in Islamaba High Court to suspend the jail sentence against the Sharifs. "The trust deeds produced by the accused Maryam Nawaz were also found bogus", the judgement had noted.

"The NAB, after conducting a thorough investigation, couldn't bring any evidence of Nawaz Sharif's ownership of the Avenfield apartments".

Justice Minallah had then remarked, "This is an important case and would have been great if we concluded it today". Likewise, the deed declaring Maryam Nawaz trustee was also proved fake. "Or is Maryam the rightful owner or only on paper?"

Ousted as prime minister last year by the Supreme Court over some undeclared income, Nawaz Sharif was in London with Kulsoom this year when a separate anti-graft court handed him a 10-year jail term in absentia over the ownership of luxury flats in London in the 1990s.

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Sharif was disqualified from office by the country's Supreme Court a year ago over corruption allegations.

Earlier, during hearings, Justice Minallah had observed that the accountability court's July 6 verdict-sentencing Sharif to 10 years imprisonment, Maryam to 7 years and Safdar to 1 year and barring the accused from contesting elections or holding public office for 10 years after release-was "based on the assumption that the Avenfield properties are occupied by the children but owned by Nawaz".

Hearings in two other corruption cases against Sharif and his family are continuing at an anti-corruption court. Sharif, Maryam and Safdar were sentenced to 11 years, eight years and one year, respectively, in prison in the Avenfield properties case.

Safdar was arrested by the NAB authorities in Rawalpindi on July 9 while Nawaz Sharif and Maryam were taken into custody by the officials few minutes after their flight landed at Lahore's Allama Iqbal International Airport on Friday night and shifted to Adiala Jail.

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