Pakistan court orders release of Nawaz Sharif, daughter Mariam

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The Accountability Court sentenced the imprisonment of 10, 7, and 1 year to Nawaz, Maryam, and Captain Safdar (retd) respectively.

Hamza further said that it had been proven that the accountability court's verdict against former premier Nawaz Sharif, his daughter and son-in-law was "weak".

Sharif remains barred from running for public office for life, after the Supreme Court in April ruled that he had lied on a parliamentary wealth declaration and that the disqualification from that crime would last for an indefinite period.

Television footage showed a security vehicle driving the Sharifs through a massive crowd of supporters, some showering rose petals on the vehicle while others waved party flags and chanted slogans.

Sharif's party, the Pakistan Muslim League, meanwhile, lost in parliamentary elections later in July and has now taken on the mantle of opposition party to new Prime Minister Imran Khan's government. The floor where Sharif was admitted was declared a sub-jail and no one was allowed to meet him.

"Justice has been served and I congratulate Nawaz Sharif's supporters", former foreign minister Khawaja Asif, a staunch Sharif ally, said outside the courtroom.

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Sharif was temporarily released earlier this month to attend his wife's funeral.

Khan is making his first official overseas trip to Saudi Arabia, the country that gave Sharif shelter after the 1999 coup, where he is reportedly seeking financial help to stave off the likelihood of another International Monetary Fund bailout.

The two judges hearing the case have a reputation for being independent-minded, lawyers said.

During the hearing, Justice Miangul Minhalla said prosecutors had failed to bring any evidence of Nawaz Sharif's ownership of the Avenfield apartments, the four luxury flats in Park Lane, central London, at the heart of the case, and wanted the court to keep him jailed "on mere presumption".

The ruling by the Islamabad High Court comes just a week after Sharif's wife, Kulsoom Nawaz, died from cancer in London. The charges stemmed from leaked papers from a Panama law firm.