Former Premier to go back to Kot Lakhpat jail today as six-week bail expires

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LAHORE: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif will return to Kot Lakhpat Jail in Lahore today following the expiry of his six-week bail in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills corruption reference.

The former premier is expected to surrender himself to jail authorities after Iftar. He is set to arrive at the prison in a rally, which will be led by his daughter, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader Maryam Nawaz. 

Maryam Nawaz will lead the solidarity rally of party workers from their residence in Jati Umra to the jail, PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb informed late Monday.

The decision was made by the party’s central executive committee. 

Aurangzeb said that Maryam will accompany her father, and will be present in his car. The party has decided that she will remain with her father along with Hamza Shehbaz until he is taken into custody by the jail authorities.

The Home Department Punjab earlier instructed Nawaz to reach Kot Lakhpat Jail by 5pm today, and said his arrival in the form of a rally would be against the law. 

Protesting against the instructions, PML-N leader Rana Sanaullah said in media that Nawaz’s bail is valid till the midnight of May 7, and questioned why the party quaid should have to reach the jail anytime before that. 

The party has not issued any call for protest, Sanaullah clarified in the show. 

PML-N’s Ahsan Iqbal said in ‘Capital Talk’ that anyone who wished to join the rally would be doing so out of their own will. 

A three-member bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa last week rejected a petition by Nawaz for an extension in the bail granted to him on medical grounds in the Al-Azizia reference.

The court also rejected the former premier’s plea to allow him to travel abroad for treatment.

Nawaz had been granted bail on medical grounds by the apex court on March 26 for six weeks. On April 25, he had submitted a review petition in the Supreme Court seeking a permanent bail.

His bail expires today, May 7.

Nawaz, thrice prime minister of Pakistan, had been in jail since December 2018 following his conviction in Al Azizia corruption reference in line with the Supreme Court’s July 2017 verdict. An accountability court on December 24 had found the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader guilty in the Al Azizia Steel Mills reference and sentenced him to seven years in prison.