Pakistan’s ex-PM Nawaz Sharif gets bail in corruption cases – lawyer

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – A Pakistan High Court on Tuesday granted bail to three-times former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in corruption cases until Oct. 26, his lawyer said.

Sharif was convicted on corruption charges in two cases after his ouster as prime minister in 2017.

He returned to Pakistan last week after four years in self-exile in London, promising to work toward an economic recovery for the South Asian country, which is experiencing record inflation of over 30%.

The Islamabad High Court extended the protective bail for Sharif after prosecutors from the anti-graft agency said they did not have any objection to the extension as long as he turned up for the trial, said Sharif’s lawyer, Azam Nazeer Tarar.

Sharif had not set foot in Pakistan since leaving for London in 2019 to receive medical treatment while serving a 14-year prison sentence for corruption. His convictions remain in force, but a court on Thursday barred authorities from arresting him until Tuesday, when he is to appear in court.

The court also accepted Sharif’s plea to pursue appeals against the convictions.

While he cannot run for or hold public office because of his convictions, his legal team says the appeals would pave a way for overturning the convictions.

His party says he aims to become prime minister for a fourth time.

Sharif’s biggest challenge will be to wrest back his support base from his main rival, former premier Imran Khan who, despite being in jail, remains popular following his ouster from the premiership in 2022.

Khan, too, is disqualified from the election because of his August graft conviction, which he has appealed.

(Reporting by Asif Shahzad, editing by Ed Osmond and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)