Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law captain (retired) Safdar have reached Lahore after they were released from Rawalpindi’s Adiala jail a few hours ago.
The PML-N leaders were warmly welcomed by a large number of party supporters at the Lahore airport.
The Islamabad High Court had suspended the jail sentences of Nawaz Sharif, Maryam and Safdar in the Avenfield properties case.
They have submitted a surety of Rs0.5 million each. The court suspended their sentences as it allowed their petition against NAB. The sentences will remain suspended until a final decision is made on the petition, according to the short order issued by the judges.
The written order was sent to Judge Muhammad Bashir of the accountability court.
PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal spoke to the media outside the court. He said God has listened to their prayers. The purpose of this case was to remove Nawaz Sharif from the political and election arena and to make Imran Khan win, said the former information minister.
He said he thinks this is a reflection of non-provisional constitutional order justice.
PML-N leader Khawaja Asif said, “This is our victory”. He said he was sure Nawaz, Maryam and Captain Safdar would also emerge victorious in the other cases against them.
Iqbal said the accountability court’s judgment was a means of exacting revenge from the Sharif family.
Our workers efforts and struggle didn’t go in vain, said another party leader, Pervez Malik. We are thankful to God, he said, adding that Nawaz’s release will make a huge difference to the party’s morale. “No one can stop Mian Nawaz Sharif,” he exclaimed, adding that celebrations have already begun.
Former water and power minister Abid Sher Ali also spoke to the media and he said that Nawaz’s release will strengthen democracy and Parliament. This is a good decision by the court, he said.
It will be better if state institutions have the freedom to make decisions, said the PML-N leader, adding that the judgment proves Nawaz’s stance is correct. “The court has rejected the allegations against Nawaz Sharif and his family,” said Ali, adding that Party matters will improve as soon as Nawaz is released.
“We are so happy that our Quaid will be released from the jail,” said Punjab Leader of the Opposition Hamza Shehbaz. “The nation heard the comments made by the judges. The questions they had asked could not be answered,” he said.
The truth is the truth after all and God always ensures that justice is dispensed, he said. “Time will show that there is nothing in the case. People run away after court convictions, but Nawaz left his ailing wife and returned to Pakistan,” he remarked.
NAB is also challenging the decision to admit the petition in the Supreme Court.
They were earlier sentenced to 10, seven and one year respectively in the case on July 6 by the Islamabad Accountability Court.
Maryam and Nawaz were arrested upon their arrival in Pakistan from London on July 13. They filed appeals challenging their convictions in the case on July 16 in the Islamabad High Court.
Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb have heard the prosecution and NAB’s versions in the case. Earlier, NAB was also fined Rs10,000 for using ‘delaying tactics’.
On September 16, NAB Chairperson Javed Iqbal approached the Supreme Court with a request to set aside the Islamabad High Court’s decision to proceed with the petitions.
The Avenfield case was among the three cases filed against the Sharif family by the accountability bureau in light of the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Panama Papers case. The case pertains to Sharif family’s properties in London.