Narwaz Sharif freed as Pakistan court suspends corruption sentence

Sharifs' jail sentences suspended in corruption case, to be released

Sharifs' jail sentences suspended in corruption case, to be released

Islamabad High Court on Wednesday suspended jail sentence of former Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif in Avenfield properties corruption case.

The Pakistani court suspended the prison sentences of Sharif, his daughter and son-in-law and set them free on bail pending their appeal hearings.

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.

The duo were recently released on a bail to attend the final rites of his wife, Begum Kulsoom Nawaz, who passed away in London on September 12.

The development is the latest twist in a series of scandals involving the former prime minister, beginning with his ouster from office previous year to several corruption cases and trials that he faces.

"After it came to light that the Sharif family had purchased several lavish apartments in London through offshore companies, Pakistan's Supreme Court found that the disgraced prime minister had failed to properly disclose his financial assets - several of which were "disproportionate to his means of income" - and disqualified him from office".

The Accountability Court sentenced the imprisonment of 10, 7, and 1 year to Nawaz, Maryam, and Captain Safdar (retd) respectively. The release prompted celebrations among their supporters outside the court.

Khan is making his first official overseas trip to Saudi Arabia, the country that gave Sharif shelter after the 1999 coup, where he is reportedly seeking financial help to stave off the likelihood of another International Monetary Fund bailout.

Sharif has repeatedly called the cases against him politically motivated, suggesting collusion between the powerful military and courts to destabilize his Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz party and throw him out of power. Sharif's party and others allege the July 25 polls were rigged to favor Khan, who is seen to be close to the army.

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

He, however, said that it was a great day today as the court ordered release of their leader.

Sharif, now 68, has been prime minister three times but power has been a rough ride.

Dozens of jubilant supporters chanted "Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif!" outside the court after the decision was announced.

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