Pakistan Supreme Court grants bail to Nawaz Sharif for treatment
Islamabad, Mar 26: In a relief to ailing Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan's Supreme Court on Tuesday granted bail to the jailed former prime minister for six weeks for seeking medical treatment within the country.
Sharif, 69, is lodged in the Kot Lakhpat jail in Lahore since December last year, serving a 7-year imprisonment in the Al Azizia Steel Mills graft case. He filed appeal earlier this month against a judgment by the Islamabad High Court which on February 25 rejected his bail on medical grounds in the same case. A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa in a short order granted bail to Sharif for six weeks for his treatment.
The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo has suffered four angina attacks in recent weeks, according to his daughter Maryam Nawaz. The Sharif family is complaining that the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan was not providing adequate treatment to the 3-time former premier who has serious health complications.
The apex court in its order directed Sharif to submit two bail bonds amounting to Rs 1 crore. However, the bench made it clear that Sharif cannot go out of the country during the six-week period. He will be allowed to get treatment from a doctor of his own choice.
After completion the time period, he has to surrender himself, the judgement says. Sharif can apply for bail in the high court if need be, the judgement added. During the hearing, Sharif's counsel Khawaja Haris asked the court to grant the former premier bail for eight weeks.
"As far as the treatment is concerned, my client's life is at risk. He will surrender himself to the court after the treatment is complete," he told the court. But the additional prosecutor told the judges that "Nawaz Sharif has no life-threatening disease." Reacting to the court ruling, Prime Minister Imran Khan said his government respects court decisions, Geo News reported.
The premier, who was informed about the top court's decision on Sharif's petition while chairing a meeting of the Cabinet, said, "We had already directed that Nawaz be provided all medical facilities." "The courts and institutions in the country are independent," he said and added that he was praying for Sharif's health.
Three corruption cases - Avenfield properties, Flagship investment and Al-Azizia steel mills - were registered against the Sharif family by the anti-graft body in 2017 following a judgment by the Supreme Court that disqualified Sharif in the Panama Papers case in 2017. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison in the Avenfield corruption case in July 2018 which was related to his properties in London. Later he was given bail in September.
In December, the accountability court convicted him in the Al-Azizia graft case but acquitted him in the Flagship corruption case. The Al-Azizia Steel Mill case is related to setting up steel mills in Saudi Arabia allegedly with corruption money.