Jailed former Pakistani PM Sharif released for wife’s funeral

Nawaz Sharif, daughter, and son-in-law, temporarily released on parole to attend the funeral of Kulsoom Nawaz.

Ousted Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif gestures as he boards a Lahore-bound flight due for departure, at Abu Dhabi International Airport
Sharif is serving a 10-year prison sentence for corruption [File: Drazen Gorgic/Reuters]

Former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been temporarily released from prison to attend the funeral of his wife Kulsoom Nawaz, who passed away on Tuesday, state media reported.

Sharif, his daughter Maryam and son-in-law Muhammad Safdar were released on parole from a prison in the northern city of Rawalpindi, where they are serving 10 and seven-year prison terms respectively for corruption, late on Tuesday.

They have travelled to the eastern city of Lahore, where they will remain under police guard until their return to prison in the coming days.

Former first lady Kulsoom Nawaz died in London on Tuesday after suffering from a prolonged illness. She was 68.

Nawaz’s funeral prayers will be offered at a London mosque, the party said, after which her body will be transported to Lahore for burial on Friday.

Three-time Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam were convicted in July by an anti-corruption court for not being able to prove the source of funds used to purchase a set of upmarket London apartments during Sharif’s previous terms in power.

Sharif was also handed a $10.5m fine, while Maryam – who had become the face of the party since her father’s overthrow as prime minister last year – was given a $2.6m fine.

Maryam Nawaz’s husband, Muhammad Safdar, was also sentenced to a year in prison on related charges.

The Sharifs deny all allegations of wrongdoing and submitted themselves for arrest ahead of the country’s July general elections.

Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), a bitter rival to the Sharif’s PML-N party, won that election, defeating the former ruling party.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Khan offered condolences on the passing of the PML-N stalwart, calling her a “brave” woman.

On social media, politicians from both sides of the aisle offered their condolences, with opposition leaders criticising the PTI government for not allowing the former prime minister more time with his family.

Under Pakistani law, prisoners may be released to attend funerals of close family members, although the law says that the duration “may not ordinarily exceed twelve hours”.

Source: Al Jazeera