A Pakistani court has granted bail to three-time former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in two corruption cases.
Sharif was convicted in the two cases after his removal as prime minister in 2017.
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The Islamabad High Court on Tuesday gave Sharif bail until Thursday and prosecutors did not object, trusting he would turn up for the trial, Sharif’s lawyer Azam Nazeer Tarar said.
Sharif returned to Pakistan last week after four years of self-imposed exile in London in a bid to stand in next year’s elections against his biggest rival, former Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Sharif had not set foot in Pakistan since 2019 when he travelled to the United Kingdom’s capital for medical treatment while serving a 14-year prison sentence for corruption.
Earlier, his bail in a separate case was confirmed by a corruption court in Islamabad.
“A date will be fixed by the court for when proceedings should start,” Naseer Ahmed Bhutta, another of Sharif’s lawyers, told the Agence France-Presse news agency outside the court.
“He will attend all proceedings that he is required to.”
Currently, Khan, Sharif’s successor, is imprisoned on corruption charges and serving a three-year sentence. Khan was removed from office in a no-confidence vote in April 2022, but he is still Pakistan’s leading opposition figure and enjoys a large following along with his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party.
Like Khan, Sharif is not currently eligible to run for a seat in parliament.
Khan on Monday was indicted in a case in which he is accused of revealing official secrets after his ouster. He faces a possible death sentence in this case and will likely be unable to run in the parliamentary elections.
Sharif has returned to lead the campaign for his Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) party ahead of the elections, due in January.
Ahsan Iqbal, a senior PML-N official, said Sharif should be allowed to contest the vote.
“We hope that the injustice that was done to him … should be rectified,” Iqbal said. “It is the right of Mr Nawaz Sharif to lead his party, to lead his people and to lead Pakistan to turn around the country.”
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies