Court dashes Nawaz Sharif’s hope for bail

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–IHC judges say incarcerated ex-PM being provided all medical facilities by prison and govt authorities 

 

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday rejected a petition of incarcerated former prime minister Nawaz Sharif seeking suspension of the sentence handed to him in the Al-Azizia case verdict on medical grounds.

As a two-member bench of the IHC comprising Justice Aamir Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar announced the decision, they asserted that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader will have to remain in jail.

The court maintained that all medical facilities are available to Nawaz, and hence, his demand for bail is not justified.

The 9-page short order discussed the case of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader Sharjeel Memon who was also refused bail on medical grounds.

It also went into the details of cases — including the Talat Ishaq case and Qaim Ali Shah case — in which the courts have considered exceptional circumstances for the release of convicts.

The order read, “The petitioner has a history of various cardiac complications and is a chronic kidney patient and has high blood pressure and diabetes. All the medical reports of the petitioner confirm that he has the above history and is also recommended for medical treatment.”

“None of the reports suggest that continued incarceration of the petitioner, in any way, would be detrimental to his life,” it stated.

The order stated, “The petitioner has been hospitalized time and again since January, 2019, whenever he made complaints about his indisposition. In fact, the reports of Board of Doctors and various Teams constituted, are indicative of the fact that petitioner is receiving best possible medical treatment available to any individual in Pakistan.”

It said : “The referred fact cannot be regarded as an ‘extraordinary situation’ and/or case of ‘extreme hardship’. The Rules shows that Superintendent Jail has the authority to release a prisoner suffering from serious illness. The parameters, prescribed in the referred Rules, are not attracted in the facts and circumstances of present case.”

“For the above reasons, we find the instant petition to be without merit and the same is accordingly dismissed,” the order concluded.

It may be mentioned that an accountability court of Islamabad had on December 24, 2018, convicted Nawaz Sharif in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills case and sentenced him to seven years imprisonment and a hefty fine.

Nawaz had challenged his sentence before the IHC and also filed a petition seeking bail, till the final judgement on his appeal. Later on, his legal team withdrew the bail petition and filed a fresh one seeking Nawaz’s release on medical grounds.

Nawaz’s counsel had pleaded before the bench that his client required monitoring round the clock and time-to-time change in his medicine. The doctors have also suggested angiography of the former prime minister.

However, the NAB prosecutor opposed the petition arguing that the prisoner was hospitalised and being provided best medical facilities. He prayed the court to dismiss the bail request.