Press Trust of india

Sharifs to spend Eid in jail

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Islamabad, Aug 21:  Pakistan's jailed former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter and son-in law will celebrate Eidul Azha in the high-security Adiala Jail after a high court deferred decision on petitions seeking their release.

Three corruption cases were filed against Sharif and family last year following a decision by Supreme Court on July 28 of the same year.

The 68-year-old PML-N leader yesterday appeared before the Islamabad-based High Court for hearing in the remaining Al-Azizia Steel Mills and the Hill Metal Establishment cases.

Sharif, along with his daughter Maryam, 44 and his son-in-law Capt (retd) Muhammad Safdar, 54, are already serving jail terms of 10-years, seven years and one year respectively in the Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi, after the accountability court convicted them on July 6 over the family's ownership of four luxury flats in London through illegal means.

The three appealed in the Islamabad court against the conviction on July 16. They also petitioned for suspension of the sentence and immediate release.

A two-member bench after hearing the arguments in the petitions seeking their release and suspension of the sentence yesterday deferred the case and announced to take it up with the hearing of appeals against conviction.

Last week, it appeared due to the remarks of the judges during the proceedings that the court will give verdict in the petition seeking their release separately, raising hopes of Sharifs' release.

But yesterday the bench announced that decision on petitions will be deferred.

Now they will be heard with the appeals that are set to be heard next month and the bench directed the registrar to fix them immediately after the summer vacations of the courts ending on September 11, indicating that they will spend Eid in jail tomorrow.

It is for the second time that Sharif will celebrate Eid in jail.

Earlier, after the October 1999 coup, he was taken into custody and spent two Eids in detention when Pervez Musharraf was ruler of the country.

Former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was the first former prime minister who spent Eids in jail while being under arrest after the July 1977 coup. He was hanged in 1979 in an alleged murder case.

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