Former Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif has been temporarily released from jail so that he can attend his wife’s funeral, officials and family members said Wednesday.
His daughter Maryam Nawaz and her husband were also released overnight Tuesday to accompany the former leader to the eastern city of Lahore for the funeral, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said.
Sharif’s wife Begum Kulsoom Nawaz died at a clinic in London on Tuesday after a long battle with cancer.
She was 68.
Sharif’s political secretary Asif Kirmani said that her body was scheduled to reach Pakistan for burial on Friday.
The three-time prime minister and his daughter are currently serving jail terms in Pakistan following their conviction by a court on corruption charges.
A jail official told dpa that Sharif was released for 12 hours, according to Pakistan’s prison rules, but the duration was likely to be extended until all the rituals are performed.
Sharif was not allowed to return to Pakistan from exile in Saudi Arabia to attend his father’s funeral in 2004.
Former military ruler Pervez Musharraf and his fellow generals were at the time criticised for the decision.
On July 6, a Pakistani court sentenced Sharif to 10 years in prison for corrupt practices linked to his family’s purchase of upscale London flats, in a major blow to his party ahead of general elections on July 25.
The guilty verdict in absentia against Sharif, ended the career of one of Pakistan’s most high-profile politicians of the last four decades, a political survivor who was prime minister three times.
Sharif’s daughter, Maryam, widely seen as his chosen political heir, was sentenced to seven years in prison and is disqualified from contesting the elections. Maryam’s husband and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz lawmaker Muhammad Safdar was handed a year in jail.