ISLAMABAD: A federal court in Pakistan’s capital on Thursday (Oct 26) restored the right of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif to appeal his 2018 convictions in two graft cases, officials said, less than a week after he returned home from four years of self-imposed exile in London.
The decision by the Islamabad High Court was a boost for Sharif ahead of parliamentary elections due in January.
If the court overturns his convictions in the coming weeks, Sharif would be eligible to run for a seat in parliament, and analysts say that his Pakistan Muslim League party could also return to power.
Sharif stepped down as prime minister in 2017 over corruption charges.
In July 2018, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison by the anti-graft tribunal in a case involving the purchase of luxury apartments in London.
In December of the same year, he was sentenced to a further seven years by a different court in a separate corruption case. His party called the verdict a “black stain” on the justice system.
Marriyum Aurangzeb, a senior leader from Sharif’s party, on Thursday hailed the court order. Writing on X, previously known as Twitter, she described the reinstatement of Sharif’s appeals against his conviction as “progress towards ending the injustice”.
She said that when Sharif got justice, he would put the country back on the path of development and progress.
The latest development came days after the Islamabad High Court granted Sharif protection from arrest, enabling him to surrender before it.
At Thursday’s court hearing, which Sharif attended, the court extended his protection from arrest after the anti-corruption body said it had no intention of detaining him in connection with pending cases.