News Desk |
The incarcerated ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif has approached the Islamabad High Court (IHC) and sought bail on medical grounds. This time around, the former PM through his counsel has included opinions of specialist doctors from Switzerland, the United States of America and the United Kingdom in the petition seeking release from jail on medical grounds.
In the petition, Sharif’s counsel Khawaja Haris stated that the medical specialists from UK, USA, and Switzerland, all members of the special medical board constituted to examine petitioner’s health and doctors associated with three hospitals in Lahore – Doctors Hospital, Sheikh Zayed Hospital and National Hospital – were unanimous that Sharif’s treatment was not possible in jail premises.
The petition added that his blood and sugar levels have not normalized. Subsequently, he has prayed the court to grant bail on medical grounds.
The counsel said that Sharif is suffering from numerous diseases, adding the doctors have said that his condition is life-threatening and tension and stress can prove to be threatening to his life. The petition added that his blood and sugar levels have not normalized. Subsequently, he has prayed the court to grant bail on medical grounds.
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SC dismisses Sharif’s review Petition seeking Medical Treatment in the UK
Earlier this month, the Supreme Court had dismissed Sharif’s review petition seeking permanent bail on medical grounds and the permission to go abroad for treatment. SC’s three-member bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Asif Saeed Khosa had dismissed the application and remarked that six-week bail was granted to Sharif to get treatment but the time was spent only on further investigation by conducting more tests.
“It seems his life is not in danger,” the court had remarked. With the dismissal of the application, the ex-PM went back to Kot Lakhpat jail on May 7 after his bail period expired. On March 26, the apex court had released Sharif on bail for six weeks but “made it clear that during this period the petitioner shall not leave or be allowed to leave the country”. While requesting the court to review its earlier order, Haris had stated that restricting Sharif to get his medical treatment in Pakistan only merits review.
The counsel said that Sharif is suffering from numerous diseases, adding the doctors have said that his condition is life-threatening and tension and stress can prove to be threatening to his life.
Before being released on SC orders, Sharif was serving a seven-year prison sentence since December 24, 2018, awarded to him by an accountability court in the Al-Azizia corruption reference of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).
In the petition, Haris had stated that Sharif was facing complicated and life-threatening nature of the ischemic heart disease, carotid artery disease, lymphadenopathy, and renal artery stenosis coupled with co-morbid diseases including blood pressure, Type II diabetes mellitus and third-stage chronic kidney disease. He had maintained that the medical professionals in Pakistan recommended that he should be treated by the practitioners who were earlier seeing him in the UK.
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In the review petition, Sharif had prayed to the apex court to modify the March 26 order and allow him to travel to the UK abroad for medical treatment, however, the apex court had dismissed the plea.
SC’s bail terms for Sharif
Before being released on six-week bail, the Supreme Court had set certain conditions. The conditions said that Sharif shall not leave or be allowed to leave the country, bail will automatically be cancelled upon expiry of six weeks from date of release and Sharif will have to surrender custody voluntarily, failing which he will be arrested.
Sharif had prayed to the apex court to modify the March 26 order and allow him to travel to UK abroad for medical treatment, however, the apex court had dismissed the plea.
Also, the court had said, he would not be allowed to apply for further bail till he surrenders his custody and he was allowed treatment from medical practitioners and to avail medical facilities of his choice in Pakistan. Moreover, the order said, if, during the period of his bail, the IHC rules adversely in the appeal filed by Sharif before the IHC, the IHC will have full authority to decide how and when to arrest him. With no further relief in bail, Sharif had surrendered before jail authorities on May 7.
Sharif, Panama and Courts
Sharif remained prime minister of Pakistan from 1990 to 1993, from 1997 until a coup in 1999 and from 2013 till the Supreme Court removed him from office in July 2017 on account of failing to disclose part of a salary drawn from his son’s company located in UAE. Later, the Supreme Court ruled that the July 2017 decision to oust Sharif meant that he will have to stay away from politics for the rest of his life.
The conditions said that Sharif shall not leave or be allowed to leave the country, bail will automatically be canceled upon expiry of six weeks from date of release.
He was ousted by SC after the Panama Papers leaks revealed that his children allegedly owned offshore companies registered in the British Virgin Islands and that they used them to buy properties in London, UK. Panama Papers, a trove of leaked documents from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca implicated dozens of politicians and powerful international figures in shady offshore business dealings.
Sharif was the second world leader, along with the former prime minister of Iceland, Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson, to resign as a result of the leak. After his cases were sent to an accountability court in Islamabad for trial proceedings, he was convicted in two NAB cases – Avenfield Apartments and Al Azizia Steel Mills references – for not disclosing sources of income.
Sharif has always denied any wrongdoing and claimed that the charges are politically motivated. After being convicted in the London properties reference by the accountability court, the IHC had suspended his sentence until the final decision on his appeal.
In the second case, he was jailed for seven years when the accountability court ruled that he was unable to show where he obtained the money he used to buy the Al-Azizia steel mill in Saudi Arabia. Sharif has challenged both convictions and the appeals process in both cases is ongoing.