Islamabad: An accountability court in Pakistan on Friday ordered authorities to release all properties and assets seized from former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in 2020.
Judge Muhammad Bashir of the Islamabad accountability court heard the Toshakhana corruption case against the 73-year-old Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo who returned to Pakistan on October 21 after about four years of self-imposed exile in London, The Express Tribune newspaper reported.
The judge issued an order to return all properties, vehicles, and bank accounts owned by the three-time former prime minister, which were seized in 2020 on the orders of an accountability court during a hearing of the Toshakhana case.
More than 1,650 canals (approximately 0.8 sq km) of agricultural land, a Mercedes Benz car, a Land Cruiser, and other vehicles were confiscated by the three-time prime minister in 2020 after he was declared a proclaimed offender in the Toshakhana case, according to the report.
The court had ordered the seizure after the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) submitted a report to an accountability court, providing complete details of Sharif’s movable and immovable assets, during a hearing of the Toshakhana case.
The former prime minister returned to Pakistan on October 21 after about four years of self-imposed exile in London, where he had gone after getting a medical bail following his conviction in the Avenfield Apartment and Al-Azizia corruption cases.
Ahead of Sharif’s arrival in Pakistan, his legal team approached the Islamabad High Court, which granted him a protective bail until October 24 in the Avenfield and Al-Azizia cases, but an anti-corruption court suspended his arrest warrant in the Toshakhana case.
On October 24, Sharif marked his attendance in the Accountability Court of Judge Bashir and was allowed to leave after the judge witnessed his presence in the courtroom.
During the hearing, the NAB prosecutor contended that Sharif had surrendered, therefore, his arrest warrant should be cancelled. “If the warrants are cancelled, then the trial can move forward,” he said.
The judge subsequently confirmed Sharif’s bail in the case against surety bonds of Rs 1 million. The hearing of the case was adjourned till November 20.
The former premier is all set to lead the PML-N during the general elections, which are scheduled to be held on February 8. Earlier this month, he directed his party leaders to begin their preparations for the national elections.
(Published 10 November 2023, 17:09 IST)