IHC suspends Nawaz Sharif’s sentence for eight weeks on medical grounds
ISLAMABAD (92 News) – The Islamabad High Court (IHC) suspended the sentence of former premier Nawaz Sharif and granted him bail for eight weeks on medical grounds in the Al-Azizia reference on Tuesday.
The court also ordered to furnish two surety bonds worth Rs two million each. It also ordered to contact the Punjab government for extension in bail after eight weeks.
Earlier, the IHC had reserved its verdict on the plea. A two-judge IHC bench, including Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani, heard the PML-N chief’s petition on Tuesday.
A team consisting of Additional Prosecutor General Nayyar Rizvi and Jahanzeb Bharwana represented NAB Chairman Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal.
During the hearing, the court asked doctors, who are part of the medical board overseeing Nawaz’s treatment, if it was possible for Nawaz to recover without staying in the hospital. The doctors responded in the negative and said that the PML-N quid required medical supervision at all times.
The board informed the court that Nawaz had been given 80 injections in order to bring his platelet count — which was reported to have dropped to dangerous levels — to normal. The doctors said that earlier, the platelets injected in Nawaz’s body would be destroyed but added that the count was not wavering any more.
When asked if Nawaz had suffered a heart attack during his medical treatment, the doctors responded in the affirmative.
Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, who appeared before court today, assured the bench that the provincial government was providing the best medical care to the former premier. He told the bench that the provincial government was working to bring forth prison reforms.
Nawaz’s lawyer Khawaja Haris during his arguments expressed dissatisfaction with the medical care of his client so far. “So far we are not satisfied with the medical board’s treatment. The board itself is saying in its report that it is unable to manage [Nawaz’s treatment].
“Services hospital does not have machinery to conduct tests. Nawaz Sharif has to be taken to different places for his tests to be conducted.”
Haris explained that Nawaz’s body was not able to generate platelets naturally and he was being given steroids and medicines in order to increase the platelet count. However, the treatment to increase platelet count posed an increased risk of a heart attack.
The lawyer clarified that while his client did not doubt the intention or capability of the doctors appointed for treatment, the medical board itself was not satisfied with Nawaz’s reports. He insisted that the former premier should be allowed to get treatment from doctors of his choice.
“Why doesn’t NAB submit a request for suspension of sentence?,” asked Haris. “If Nawaz Sharif’s condition improves, he can serve his sentence again.”
NAB prosecutor argued that the anti-corruption watchdog would not oppose bail on humanitarian grounds. “I will not talk about merit, Nawaz Sharif’s condition is serious,” he said.
“If we do grant a bail, how long should it be for?,” IHC Justice Farooq asked NAB prosecutor to which the latter said that the court can decide in accordance with a Supreme Court verdict that granted a six-weeks bail to seek medical treatment within the country.
On October 26, a two-member bench of the IHC comprising of Chief Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani had granted interim bail to Nawaz Sharif on medical grounds till October 29.
After resumption of the hearing for the fourth time, the NAB prosecutor had told court that they did not oppose the bail on humanitarian grounds.
Chief Justice Athar Minallah remarked that the court will reject the bail if the government opposes the bail. “The NAB and the government will be held responsible if anything happens to Nawaz Sharif,” he remarked.
He remarked that all ministers were issuing the statements to shift the responsibility onto courts. “The government should clearly give the reply either positive or negative,” he said.
The additional attorney general said that the federal government had no role in the matter. The court asked the additional attorney general either to take responsibility or oppose the bail.