–Party President Shehbaz Sharif says ‘Finally, we got the justice’
–This is non-PCO justice, former minister Ahsan Iqbal terms
ISLAMABAD: The release of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Captain (r) Safdar on bail in the Avenfield properties reference has sent a wave of jubilation among Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supporters across the country.
The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday ordered the release of Nawaz Sharif, Maryam and Safdar after suspending the sentences they had received from an accountability court in July. The former premier was handed a 10-year sentence, Maryam seven years, while Safdar was imprisoned for a year over alleged corrupt practices linked to his family’s ownership of upscale London flats.
The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leaders expressed their satisfaction at the ruling to free the incarcerated Sharif family members and breathed a sigh of relief after the ruling.
PML-N President and former Punjab chief minister Shehbaz Sharif said, “Finally, we got the justice.” He quoted a verse from the Holy Quran which translates as: “Truth has come, and falsehood has departed. Indeed is a falsehood, [by nature], ever bound to depart.”
Former defence minister Khawaja Asif said that justice has been served. “We are thankful to God and hopeful that justice will prevail in all other cases.”
Addressing PML-N supporters outside the IHC, Opposition Leader in Punjab Assembly Hamza Shehbaz said that “truth remains truth and justice is done by Almighty Allah”.
PML-N senior leader and former minister Ahsan Iqbal called it “non-PCO justice.” He also extended felicitations to the people of Pakistan after the verdict was announced in a packed courtroom no 3.
The sentences will remain suspended until the final adjudication of the appeals filed by the petitioners.
“It was written in the accountability court verdict that Nawaz was not involved in corruption,” the opposition leader noted, adding that soon Nawaz would be among them.
“Mian Sahib considered fulfilling his duty more important than tending to his ailing wife,” he said.
“We are clean and we will face the cases courageously,” he added.
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.
Commenting on the verdict, former Sindh governor Muhammad Zubair said that they had been saying since day one that the cases against the Sharif family had no substance.
He further remarked that the cases against the Sharif family were politically motivated and single case was used to target the entire family.
PML-N Senator Mushahid Ullah Khan has said that Nawaz Sharif along with his daughter and son-in-law were serving sentences for the “sins which they didn’t commit”.
He said the trio had stood up to every challenge, now it was challenge for those who have to give decision that what decision they give.
He said the former premier was punished for serving the people and for bringing the country out of darkness. “Till now, no evidence has been found against the Sharif family,” he added.
On July 6, accountability court judge Mohammad Bashir had convicted Nawaz, Maryam and Capt (r) Safdar in the Avenfield properties reference and sentenced them to 11, eight and one years, respectively.
Nawaz and Maryam were arrested on July 13 upon their arrival in Lahore from London.
On July 16, the Sharifs had filed appeals for the Avenfield verdict to be overturned.
Earlier this week, the Supreme Court (SC) rejected a petition filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) challenging the IHC’s decision to hear Sharifs’ petitions against the Avenfield verdict.
On September 15, the anti-graft body had moved the SC in an effort to keep the IHC from ruling on an application from the Sharif family seeking the suspension of the Avenfield verdict.
However, imposing a Rs20,000 fine on the NAB, Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar noted that justice should be served to petitioners.
The Sharifs’ convictions are still under appeal with the same IHC, but a judge on Wednesday ruled that they should be freed immediately while the case continues.
Three-time prime minister Sharif was ousted and disqualified from holding office by the Supreme Court in July 2017 and jailed earlier this year in absentia. He was arrested on July 13 upon returning from London, where his wife was receiving treatment before her death this month.
Sharif has repeatedly called the cases against him politically motivated.