Supreme Court issues notice to NAB on Sharif’s bail petition

Islamabad (HRNW): The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued a notice to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on a petition filed by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif challenging the Islamabad High Court’s verdict dismissing his bail application in Al-Azizia corruption reference. The three-member bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Asif Saeed Khan Khosa put off the hearing until March 26. Sharif’s lawyer Khawaja Haris submitted medical reports of his client, stating a board of medical experts had recommended transferring him to a hospital equipped with all essential facilities. He said five different medical boards were constituted to assess the Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) supremo’s health, which were unanimous in their prognosis that he was suffering from health problems.

Haris said it was the basic right of an inmate to get treatment to his satisfaction. Justice Khosa said the bench will have to go through the former premier’s medical reports. “We have to see whether the ailment [Sharif was suffering from] has deteriorated,” he said. Justice Khosa observed that the former premier spent a busy life despite these diseases in the past. “He ran election campaign and faced trial along with addressing public gatherings.” A bench of the IHC comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mohsin AKhtar Kayani on February 25 dismissed Sharif’s petition seeking bail and suspension of his seven-year imprisonment on medical grounds. “Nawaz Sharif is not suffering from any disease which cannot be treated in Pakistan,” the bench had observed.

The PML-N supreme leader was sentenced to seven years in prison and fined Rs1.5 billion and $25 million in the Al-Azizia corruption reference by an accountability court on December 24, 2018. Earlier, on March 1, Sharif filed a petition in the Supreme Court pleading with it to set aside the judgment of the IHC that rejected his bail plea in Al-Azizia corruption reference. The PML-N supremo named the federation, National Accountability Bureau (NAB), the accountability court judge and the superintendent jail as parties in his petition. He submitted that the order passed by the IHC division bench is in utter derogation of the principles governing grant of bail/suspension of sentence laid down by the apex court in the judgements cited before the division bench.

Sharif’s lawyer said the division bench committed a jurisdictional error in misreading the record and thereby basing its judgement on an erroneous assumption that he was receiving best possible medical treatment in hospital. However, the fact is that as per the medical reports submitted in the case, his treatment had not yet been started, rather these reports can only pertain to the diagnosis showing that he is suffering from various ailments, he added. The counsel said the ailments his client is suffering from constitutes a risk of stroke, an alarming degree of threat of irreversible damage to his heart, potential threat to further deterioration of his 3rd stage chronic kidney disease, and aggravation of his T2 Diabetes Millitus and Hypertension.

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