Islamabad, Oct 19 (EFE).- Former three-time prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, has been granted protective bail by the Islamabad High Court, paving the way path for his return to Pakistan that ends his more than four-year self-imposed exile in the United Kingdom.
In 2018, Sharif was sentenced to 10 years in prison and fined $10.6 million in a money laundering and corruption case related to his family’s purchase of upscale Avenfield flats in London.
The conviction came after the Supreme Court removed him from power. He was also sentenced to seven years in prison on separate corruption charges.
Additionally, Sharif was disqualified for life from electoral politics and holding any office within his center-right Pakistan Muslim League-N party.
However, the disqualification period was later reduced to five years through a parliamentary act during his younger brother Shehbaz Sharif’s government in June.
“Nawaz Sharif has got bail…by the Islamabad High Court,” PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb told EFE on Thursday.
She said an accountability court in Islamabad has suspended the perpetual arrest warrants issued for Sharif in 2020 in a separate case involving luxury vehicles and gifts from Toshakhana, a department that stores state gifts.
“He cannot be arrested in any case upon his return on Saturday,” Aurangzeb said.
Nawaz Sharif had traveled to the UK for medical treatment after giving an undertaking to the court that he would return.
He has consistently denied the charges against him, alleging that the country’s powerful security establishment targeted him through legal cases.
He openly criticized the military for allegedly supporting his opponent, Imran Khan, who came to power in the 2018 general elections.
Khan is currently in jail, facing nearly 200 legal cases, including sedition, terrorism, and murder. He was removed from power in a parliamentary vote of no-confidence in April 2022.
Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party has accused Sharif of making a deal with the military to return to power for the fourth time in the upcoming general elections scheduled for January next year.
The Pakistani military has played an active role in the country’s politics, having directly ruled the nation through coups for nearly half of its history.
The army, however, denies any involvement in the ousting of Sharif in July 2017 or Khan in April of the following year. EFE