The high court of Islamabad has decided to release Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Muhammad Safdar from prison on bail of the former Prime Minister of Pakistan.
In July, they were convicted by the anti-Corruption court of Islamabad due to the fact that the family of the former Prime Minister owns undeclared real estate in London. Sharif was sentenced to 10 years in prison, Maryam Nawaz to seven years and her husband Muhammad Safdar to one year.
The decision of the Supreme court of Pakistan was perceived by some as a scathing condemnation of the legal system of Pakistan and the lack of independence, writes the New York Times. According to observers, after suspending the sentence, the court pointed out that the evidence used to convict the Sharif was too weak to sustain.
“These decisions are a judgment on the integrity of our justice system, and it will animate politics in Pakistan,” said Babar Sattar, a lawyer for Pakistan’s Supreme court and columnist.
Wednesday’s decision could restore Mr. Sharif’s political fate and pave the way for his daughter-widely perceived as his political heir – to lead the family party, the Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz. The courts ruled earlier this year to ban Mr. Sharif and Maryam Nawaz from holding political office for life.
Sharif was forced to leave the Prime Minister’s office last year because of a Supreme court decision, as the so-called Panama papers were published, according to which his family owned expensive real estate in London. Sharif could not explain how he managed to acquire such an object, given the size of his salary. Sharif’s family denies wrongdoing and corruption and claims that the case was politically motivated, pushed by the military.
The Supreme court of Islamabad ordered Sharif, his daughter Maryam and her husband, to place bonds for half a million rupees or about 4 thousand dollars for their release. Three were released from the high security prison in Rawalpindi at the end of Wednesday. They are still prohibited from leaving the country.