Pakistan’s Islamabad High Court granted on Thursday former three-time Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif protective bail, according to local media Pakistan Today. The protective bail restrains authorities from arresting Sharif until he appears before court on October 24.
Sharif was removed from government and sentenced to 14 years prison over corruption charges in 2017 and 2018, respectively. A court ruling allowed him to travel to London, England for medical treatment with the expectation that he would return to Pakistan to serve his jail term. Sharif, however, did not return to Pakistan and was declared as an absconder. He is expected to return to Pakistan on Saturday.
According to Sharif’s lawyer Azam Nazeer Tarar, Sharif will appeal against his sentence, as he hopes to overturn his convictions and campaign for the general election. Azam Nazeer Tarer also said that everyone has the constitutional right to freely engage in political activities and that Sharif plans to rally in Lahore, Pakistan on Saturday.
Shehbaz Sharif, Sharif’s younger brother, expressed support of the court’s decision in granting Sharif protective bail. He wrote on X (formerly Twitter):
The elected Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, was disqualified based on a fictitious and fabricated story. He was implicated in absurd cases and subjected to mistreatment. Any fair hearing would have established his innocence. Bail is a fundamental right, and we welcome the [Islamabad High Court] decision in this regard, hoping that justice will prevail[.]
Shehbaz Sharif was elected as prime minister after former Prime Minister Imran Khan lost a no-confidence vote in April 2022 and was subsequently removed from government. He currently serves as president of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN). The PMLN was founded by Sharif in 1993. It established Pakistan’s incumbent caretaker government after Shehbaz Sharif was removed as prime minister due to corruption allegations in 2022.Nawaz Sharif