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Former Pakistani PM Sharif Freed From Prison On Bail

Ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif appears with his daughter, Maryam, at a news conference in London in July.
Ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif appears with his daughter, Maryam, at a news conference in London in July.

Pakistan's former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter, and son-in-law have been released from prison after a court suspended their prison sentences in a corruption case.

Sharif, Maryam Nawaz, and Mohammad Safdar were released from Adiala prison in the garrison city of Rawalpindi in the evening on September 19, and were being taken to the airport, officials said.

Television footage showed supporters showering Sharif’s vehicle with rose petals after he was freed from the high security prison facility.

Earlier, the Islamabad High Court announced the decision ordering their release 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
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