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The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has suspended the jail sentences awarded to Nawaz Sharif for his involvement in heavy money laundering in the country. Daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Capt (retd) Safdar are also ordered to be released.

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A division bench which included Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb also allowed the petitions which were filed by Sharif family members against NAB’s judgment on July 6 verdict in Avenfield reference case which found them guilty of corruption and sentenced them to detainment and fines.

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The judgment:

The instant writ petition is also allowed and sentence awarded to the petitioners by the accountability court shall remain suspended till the final adjudication of the appeal filed by the petitioner. The petitioner shall be released on bail subject to furnishing bail bonds in the sum of Rs500,000 with one surety in the amount to the satisfaction of deputy registrar of the high court.

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This order allows the immediate release of Sharif family members from Rawalpindi Central Jail – where they have been since July 13.

PML-N leader Khawaja Asif said the IHC judgment was a “victory for justice”.

In the July 6 decision, Judge Muhammad Bashir had sentenced Nawaz Sharif to 10 years in prison, Maryam to 7 years, and Safdar to one-year. They were also disqualified to contest elections or to hold public office for a period of 10 years after release.

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PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif was also seen in the court alongside Mushahiddullah Khan, Raja Zafarul Haq and others as the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) prosecutor concluded his contentions.

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Following the accountability court’s judgment in the Avenfield reference, the Sharifs’ documented separate petitions through Khawaja Haris and Amjad Pervaiz asking for the high court to suspend sentences and put aside the decision.

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The petitions moved the onus of evidence from the accused to the prosecution. Throughout court procedures, the IHC pondered whether the conviction can be founded on assumption as NAB kept on raising complaints about the practicality of the petitions.

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