- PPP co-chairman says there are thousands of cases pending in courts yet top judge is raiding hospitals
KARACHI: After Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar paid a surprise visit to a Karachi hospital where Pakistan People’s Party’s (PPP) imprisoned MPA Sharjeel Memon was getting treatment and recovered ‘liquor bottles’ from his room, a visibly irked PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari said it was beyond comprehension that the top judge was paying surprise hospital visits when there was a backlog of “thousands of cases” in the top court.
The former president was referring to recent media reports which claimed that the number of pending cases in the Supreme Court has almost doubled in the past five years: from 20,480 in 2013 to 40,540 in 2018. Around 8,000 cases have alone been added to the litigations pending before the top court during the 20-month period of CJP Nisar, reports had said.
Giving his two cents on the “visit”, Zardari said that nothing could be said in a country where the country’s top judge conducts raids in hospitals.
“I just know that are thousands of cases pending before the Supreme Court (SC) which should also be pursued,” Zardari said while speaking to journalists outside a banking court where he had submitted bail bonds worth Rs 2 million.
On February 15, a National Accountability Bureau (NAB) court indicted Sharjeel Memon in a Rs 5.76 billion corruption case.
Memon and 11 other accused in the corruption reference were arrested by NAB in October last year. The suspects are accused of corruption worth Rs 5.76 billion in the award of advertisements of the Sindh government’s awareness campaigns in the electronic media.
The PPP co-chairman also commented on the upcoming presidential poll.
In the wake of the polls, PPP has nominated Aitzaz Ahsan unilaterally after it had a falling out with the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the grand opposition alliance, while Fazlur Rehman, the JUI-F chief, was joint opposition’s nominee against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) Arif Alvi.
“Maybe Maulana Fazlur Rehman will withdraw from the contest,” Zardari responded to question on whether the PPP will withdraw Aitzaz in favour of a joint candidate.
A reporter took a jibe on Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry’s comment on helicopter travel and asked the former president why not use a helicopter instead of a car now that it is much cheaper. “Let’s see when I get it,” Zardari responded in a lighter vein, adding, “I am hearing that it costs Rs50-55 to travel in one.”