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Pakistani Court Suspends Sentences For Sharif, Daughter, Son-In-Law

Nawaz Sharif

A Pakistani court has suspended the prison sentences that had been previously handed to ousted former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter, and son-in-law in a corruption case.

The Islamabad High Court announced the decision on September 19, ordering the release of Sharif, Maryam Nawaz, and Mohammad Safdar on bail pending their appeal hearings.

The court ordered the trio be freed once they each post a bond of 500,000 rupees ($4,000).

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

"Today's decision is a victory for justice," said former Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif.

Another ex-minister, Ahsan Iqbal, told reporters that the court “suspended the decision that was based on revenge."

An accountability court in July sentenced the former leader and his daughter to 10-year and seven-year terms in prison, respectively, over the purchase of luxury apartments in London in the 1990s.

Safdar was given a one-year prison term.

They were also barred from seeking public office for up to 10 years after release.

The three have denied wrongdoing, with Sharif calling the charges political motivated.

He suggested collusion between the country’s powerful military and courts to throw him out of power and destabilize his Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party ahead of general elections.

Pakistan Tehrik-e Insaf (PTI) leader Imran Khan became prime minister after the party won the most parliamentary seats in the July 25 vote.

Sharif, who has served as prime minister for three nonconsecutive terms, was disqualified from office by the Supreme Court last year over corruption allegations.

He was briefly released from prison in Rawalpindi earlier this month for the funeral of his wife, who died from cancer in London.

With reporting by Reuters, AFP, dpa, AP, and Dawn