Court turns down plea seeking Zardari’s transfer to hospital


–Judge says court cannot declare hospital a ‘sub-jail’, asks PPP leader to approach jail authorities


ISLAMABAD: An accountability court on Tuesday rejected a plea seeking the transfer of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) chief and former president Asif Ali Zardari from jail to a hospital.

The former president is currently on judicial remand till October 22 in the fake accounts case. Zardari had moved the court on October 4 seeking it to declare a hospital a sub-jail for him.

The court rejected the plea on the grounds that the matter does not fall in the court’s jurisdiction. Judge Mohammad Bashir, while pronouncing the previously reserved decision, directed Zardari to approach the relevant forum.

The judge in its three-page verdict declared that the court cannot declare a hospital a sub-jail, as sought in the plea. According to the verdict, jail authorities can declare a hospital a sub-jail through an executive order. The court advised the petitioner to therefore approach the jail authorities with his request.

The court also ordered the jail superintendent to act upon the recommendations of the medical officers or a medical board.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had arrested Zardari on June 10 after cancellation of his pre-arrest bail by the Islamabad High Court (IHC) in the fake bank accounts case. On Aug 16, the court had sent the former president to Adiala jail on judicial remand.

The case pertains to a massive money laundering scam that was being probed by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA). The suspects include Zardari, Talpur, former Pakistan Stock Exchange chairman Hussain Lawai, Omni Group CEO Anwar Majeed and his sons and several other high profile persons. The case was later taken over by NAB on the Supreme Court’s orders.

Following the judgement, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and his sister Bakhtawar Bhutto took to Twitter to criticise the decision.

Bilawal said, “The state continues to try and use my father’s ailing health to pressure my party. Despite being detained without being convicted of anything since August. he is still to receive medical care.”

“Despite multiple medical reports from the government’s own doctors that he should be provided with medical facilities in prison and shifted to hospital for investigation/ treatment he has been denied his fundamental rights,” he said, adding that Zardari has still not been provided with a fridge to keep his insulin and medicine.

The PPP chairman said that he will hold the PTI responsible if anythings happen to his father. He vowed that he will not compromise on democratic politics and his principles.

“If anything was, God forbid, to happen to my father, we will hold this government responsible. Despite these tactics we will not compromise on our principles or democratic politics.”

Bakhtawar Bhutto tweeted, “Zardari was shifted overnight from jail to hospital in August. Now October! Right to life being denied for a cardiac patient.”

“How is this justified?” she questioned, asking if it was so because because he is a former civilian president.

“Criminal neglect with intent to harm under this fascist dictatorship,” she added.