Former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif Freed After Court Suspends Sentence

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The former prime minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif, has been freed on Wednesday alongside his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Mohammad Safdar after a Pakistani court suspended the trio’s sentences and granted bail pending an appeal hearing, according to reports from ABC News.

The High Court in Islamabad reached their decision after the Sharif family submitted petitions to appeal their sentences, which they received earlier in 2018 over a corruption case. Sharif, his daughter, and son-in-law were released in Rawalpindi, a Pakistani garrison city.

This is just the latest in the constantly shifting story surrounding the former prime minister. Sharif was ousted from the office of prime minister in 2017, which was followed by a string of corruption cases which include some trials he has yet to face.

When the ruling came down from an anti-graft tribunal on July 6, Sharif was in London visiting his wife, who was critically ill. Sharif returned to Pakistan the following week with his daughter where they were taken in to serve their sentences.

Later that month, the Pakistan Muslim League, the party that Sharif is a member of, was knocked out of power during parliamentary elections and is now serving as the opposition party against current Prime Minister Imran Khan.

After the decision on Wednesday, it was ruled that Sharif, his daughter, and son-in-law should be released once they post bail of half-a-million Rupees, which comes out to $4,000. The decision was reached by a two-judge panel led by Justice Athar Minallah.

Upon their release, the trio was met by a crowd that included party leaders and throngs of supporters, Sharif’s close aide Sen. Mushahidullah Khan told ABC News. Sharif revealed that he and his family were escorted from the prison by a tight security presence and taken to an airport where they were flown to the city of Lahore.

Sharif’s wife, Kulsoom Nawaz, eventually succumbed to her cancer battle while he and his daughter were in prison. Khan revealed that upon her release, Sharif’s daughter said, “I thought I would go straight to mother but she is no more.”

Sharif was granted release temporarily earlier in the month so as he could attend his wife’s funeral.

Their release was caught by television cameras who produced images of the crowds that had gathered to celebrate Sharif’s freedom. As the former prime minister was driven through the crowd, his vehicle was showered by roses while others waved flags and shouted the chants of the Pakistan Muslim League.