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LAHORE: Stating that the decision of the Islam­abad High Court (IHC) to suspend the accountability court’s verdict in the Avenfield reference was on a “procedural basis”, Infor­mation Minister Fawad Chaudhry said that the government fully respected the country’s courts.

In a statement issued by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s media department on Wednesday, Mr Chaudhry said that the country’s courts were functioning independently and the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) was also an independent and autonomous institution and the government had no role to play in its activities.

Mr Chaudhry, who is also the information secretary of the ruling PTI, said the government respected the IHC’s order like all its previous judgements. He said the government as well as the people of Pakistan wanted action against all those involved in corruption.

Bilawal terms the verdict ‘relief’ to Sharifs

“The people of Pakistan want that their looted wealth brought back to the country and the government is working to achieve this objective,” he asserted.

Stating that the nation was now aware about the character of the Sharif family, he alleged that the Sharifs were yet to provide evidence of its ownership of billions of rupees. He said the law would take its course and the case would further unfold.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari termed the IHC verdict a “relief to the Sharif family”.

In a statement issued from Bilawal House Karachi, the PPP chairman said that after the death of Begum Kulsoom Nawaz, the Sharif family was going through “testing times”.

“The PPP and Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto fought for the independence of judiciary and were an integral part of this important movement. The PPP has also suffered at the hands of judicial verdicts but not once have we disrespected the courts,” he added.

The PPP chairman said he could not comment on the legal aspects of this verdict as courts were yet to decide on the appeals.

“We believe that our courts should not seem to be seen as part of any political victimisation. Rule of law and independence of judiciary are essential for any democratic system to thrive,” he concluded.

Similarly, PPP Punjab president Qamar Zaman Kaira in a separate statement said that as soon as the accountability court had announced 10-year jail term for the PML-N’s supreme leader, it was being expected that the (Islamabad) high court would bail out the ex-premier.

Mr Kaira said Nawaz Sharif had always been getting relief [from courts] and the it was repeated once again on Wednesday.

He said the grounds the IHC had made as basis in its verdict for releasing Nawaz Sharif would be known only in the detailed judgement.

Mr Kaira, however, said that so far only punishment had been suspended as the former prime minister would have to face the case and submit the money trail for the assets to which he had admitted ownership.

Published in Dawn, September 20th, 2018