Khudayar Mohla –
Setting a new precedent on Tuesday top court allowed former prime minister Nawaz Sharif to avail medical treatment in Pakistan while granting him bail for six weeks who is serving a term of seven years imprisonment in Al-Aziza reference since December 24, 2018.
Earlier on February 25, Islamabad High Court (IHC) has rejected an application of Nawaz Sharif, seeking bail on medical grounds in the matter observing that medical condition of the applicant has nothing to do with an extraordinary situation of extreme hardship. However, counsel for Sharif has challenged the IHC verdict before the Supreme Court, seeking his client bail for eight weeks in the matter.
Resuming hearing of the matter on Tuesday, a three-member bench of the Chief Justice Sardar Asif Saeed Khosa provided ample opportunity to Khawaja Haris, counsel for Sharif and National Accountability Bureau to argue in the case after which the court reserved verdict saying it would be announced at 1:40pm.
At the given time the bench reassembled in the court room 1 and announced the verdict saying bail is granted for six weeks against submission of two surety bonds of each amount of five million rupees whereas Nawaz Sharif will not be allowed to travel abroad during the given bail facility period.
Besides, the court said in its order that Nawaz Sharif would have to surrender before the jail authorities upon maturity of six weeks otherwise he would be apprehended. Expressing about availing bail opportunity in the matter in future once Sharif succeeded to surrender before authorities upon expiry of six weeks, the Chief Justice Khosa plainly said that Sharif may approached to High Court for bail facility on medical grounds.
At the outset of hearing, Khawaja Haris presented a letter of Dr. Lawrence, written to Sharif’s personal physician before the bench to which Chief Justice Sardar Asif Saeed Khan Khosa questioned evidential value of the letter. Responding to the court concern Khawaja Haris submitted that he was not producing the letter as evidence in the matter in hand.
Khwaja Haris argued that Nawaz Sharif is suffering from several heart ailments and had gone through open-heart surgery, adding his client requires an angiography terming it a complicated matter.
Categorizing ailment of his client, Khawaja Haris said that one of the veins supplying blood to Sharif’s heart was 43 per cent blocked whereas blood sugar level and blood pressure of Nawaz Sharif needed to be monitored at all times.
Khawaja Haris contended that five medical boards had been formed to examine Sharif’s medical condition and every one of them had declared that the former premier’s kidney ailment was at the third stage.
He further said that doctors gave recommendation to hospitalize Nawaz Sharif saying Sharif had been diagnosed with angina. Khawaja Haris urged the top court to consider seriousness of his client’s medical condition which he claimed was deteriorating day by day.
Responding to an argument of Khwaja Haris who cited PPP leader Dr. Asim Hussain’s case who was granted bail on similar grounds and was permitted to go abroad, the Chief Justice Khosa observed deteriorating medical condition provides best grounds for bail if not misused, adding that Khawaja Haris would have to establish that his client health is deteriorating whereby stay of Nawaz Sharif in jail is causing threat to his health.
After examining Sharif’s medical reports, Justice Khosa observed that former prime minister had been suffering from heart ailments since 2003, adding despite suffering from these medical conditions for several years, Sharif had quite an active routine life.
Chief Justice Khosa was of the view that different people had several types of medical histories but they survive saying the court had already reviewed Sharif’s medical reports submitted earlier and nothing found which termed Sharif was in danger.
Chief Justice questioned whether hospitals and doctors in Pakistan not eligible to treat Nawaz Sharif in the country saying the court could simply order that former prime minister be treated in a hospital in Pakistan.
Responding to the bench, Khawaja Haris submitted that his client would be in stress if remained behind the bars so it would be inappropriate to give medical treatment to his client while he is under stress.
However the Chief Justice Khosa observed that Nawaz Shari is a convicted person who would have to return to jail if top court grants him relief of bail for few weeks saying even then he will face similar stressful conditions.
Meanwhile, opposing the bail application of Sharif, the NAB argued that none of Sharif’s reports described his ailments but merely recommended checkups, adding Sharif’s medical condition was being monitored round the clock. The NAB refuted Khawaja Haris’ argument that Sharif is suffering from a life-threatening disease.
A member of the bench Justice Yahya Afridi, raised a question if Sharif life is not in danger then as to why medical boards recommended that required an angiography whereas another member of the bench Justice Sajad Ali Shah remarked the NAB had shifted Nawaz Sharif from one hospital to another hospital during custody.
Reprimanding the NAB, Chief Justice Khosa remarked the top anti-graft body should open a hospital , adding that what is reason behind that every person being investigated by the NAB facing mental duress. Chief Justice Khosa criticized the NAB during the proceedings while observing that the court is looking into matter relating to suicides of people under custody of the NAB.
The Law Today Pakistan, commonly known as TLTP, is the largest news wire service, headquartered in Islamabad. The service is providing fast, comprehensive and verified news on superior courts adjudications, regulatory framework of fiscal, monitory and external sectors, economic regulatory bodies amid apex institutions regulating the financial system. TLTP is empowering readers of more than 12 national English dailies in the country.