PPP leader Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah was released from Sukkur jail on Saturday after more than two years of incarceration following his arrest by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in Sept 2019 in a case concerning assets beyond means.
His release comes two days after the Supreme Court (SC) approved his bail, directing him to submit bail bonds of Rs10 million while retaining his name on the Exit Control List.
Earlier today, Shah was taken to the Sukkur accountability court where he signed his bail bonds after which he was taken back to Sukkur Central Jail. His son had deposited the bail bonds on Friday which could not be approved by the SC since it was a half working day.
Upon his release, Shah was given a warm reception by throngs of supporters and party loyalists who had gathered outside the jail. They showered petals on his car, changed slogans in his favour and danced to the beat of drums as Shah waved to the crowd.
He was taken to his residence by the caravan. The PPP leader also addressed the crowd at a point and said he was thankful to God, his supporters and the PPP.
"Today I don't make any complaint why I was put in jail for two years [...] it was my test and thank God so much that they put me in jail [but] till today they couldn't prove anything [against me]."
Shah said he was "proud to say" that he hailed from the middle class. He added that he did not have to defend himself since "this nation and this love [of you for me] is my defence."
The PPP leader came down hard against the government and berated it for the country's economic woes such as inflation, hikes in petrol prices and the exchange rate.
He also blasted the government for not carrying out local government elections. He said democracy was the only way for the country's progress.
"We want democracy, parliament, strong institutions and we should refrain from politics of lies. Lying is the biggest cancer."
Shah also expressed his faith in "God's justice" and the country's courts. "I will get justice because I know I was, am and will remain innocent," he added.
In 2012, an accountability court had directed NAB to file a reference against Shah on a complaint pertaining to the alleged accumulation of illegitimate assets.
In 2013, NAB had reopened two corruption cases against Shah under the directives of the Lahore High Court.
In July 2019, NAB Chairman retired justice Javed Iqbal had approved nine inquiries against different personalities, including Shah.
Subsequently, Shah was arrested on Sept 18, 2019, and NAB filed another reference against him the next day.
Shah and 17 co-accused, including his two wives, two sons, two nephews, contractors and alleged frontmen, had pleaded not guilty to charges of accumulating assets beyond known sources of income when an accountability court judge formally indicted them in Dec 2020.
Shah, who is also the former leader of the opposition in the National Assembly, was in police custody for almost two-and-a-half years. He remained under treatment at the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases, Sukkur, for about two years during the period.