INTRO: Musharraf critic freed from prison after court order. An opposition leader in Pakistan, sentenced to life in jail for defaming the army, is released on bail by Pakistan's Supreme Court.
STORY: A leader of the opposition Pakistan Muslim League(巴基斯坦穆斯林聯盟), which is headed by former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif(納瓦茲‧謝里夫), has been released from jail.
Makhdoom Javed Hashmi(馬克頓‧爪哇德‧哈席米), who was found guilty of defaming the army, was freed on bail by the Supreme Court on Saturday (August 4). It's another setback to embattled President General Pervez Musharraf(佩爾韋茲·穆沙拉夫).
The decision to release Hashmi, de facto leader of the opposition Pakistan Muslim League, came a day after Sharif petitioned the court seeking his return to the country.
Hundreds of cheering activists and supporters of the Muslim League greeted Hashmi as he emerged from prison in the eastern city of Lahore. They chanted "Go Musharraf ".
Hashmi, one of Musharraf's most outspoken critics, was arrested in 2003 for circulating an unsigned letter to reporters purporting to come from the army. The letter criticised Musharraf's support for the U.S.-led war on terror and called for an investigation into the 1999 Kargil conflict when Pakistan and India fought a limited war in the disputed region of Kashmir. Musharraf headed the army at the time of the conflict.
On Wednesday Hashmi's leader, former prime minister Sharif, petitioned the court seeking an order to stop the government from obstructing his return to the country after seven years of exile. Musharraf overthrew Sharif in 1999 and sent him and his family into exile in Saudi Arabia in 2000 in an apparent deal brokered by the Saudi royal family.