Former Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif, centre, arrives to attend the funeral prayer of his late wife Kulsoom Nawaz in Lahore on September 14, 2018. The convoy moved at a slow pace as the route was crowded with supporters and workers of PML-N, who took to the streets to celebrate the release of their leader.
"They will still have to prove their innocence in their appeal, which they have filed before the Islamabad High court", he remarked.
Dozens of jubilant supporters chanted "Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif!" outside the court after the decision was announced.
Another supporter in the crowd, Naveed Abbasi, said he is convinced Sharif was a victim of conspiracy but that, " God willing, the people will make Nawaz Sharif again the prime minister ... for a record fourth time". He further added that even if National Accountability Bureau (NAB) prosecutor failed to conclude arguments a verdict will be announced.
The Avenfield Reference verdict came against Nawaz Sharif and his family. When the anti-graft tribunal first convicted and sentenced Sharif on July 6, he was in London with his daughter, visiting his critically ill wife.
Justice Minallah read the judgment and suspended the sentences handed to the three by accountability court judge Mohammad Bashir on July 6. "Indeed is falsehood, [by nature], ever bound to depart". He said Maryam Nawaz had told the Panama Joint Investigation Team (JIT) that she is her father's dependent.
Maryam Nawaz and Captain (r) Safdar, who were candidates for the general elections 2018, were also disqualified from contesting elections for 10 years each.
Sharif had been sentenced to 10 years in jail and a $10.5m fine, his daughter Maryam to a seven-year jail sentence and a $2.6m fine, and Maryam's husband Safdar to a year in prison. He said, "Maryam Nawaz crafted this trust deed and declared his brother beneficial owner".
Qureshi responded that the "law of evidence empowers the court to presume facts in certain situations".
At this, Qureshi said that "since the properties belong to a foreign jurisdiction, therefore, it is a distinguished case and these were not applicable to this case".