Pakistan court rejects Sharif’s plea for bail on medical grounds

Islamabad | A Pakistani court on Thursday turned down a plea by jailed prime minister Nawaz Sharif to suspend his sentence in a corruption case and grant him bail on medical grounds.

Sharif has been serving a seven-year prison term at the Kot Lakhpat Jail in Lahore since December 24, 2018 when an accountability court convicted him in the Al-Azizia steel mills corruption case filed in the wake of the apex court’s July 28, 2017 order in Panama Papers case.

A two-judge Islamabad High Court (IHC) bench comprising Justices Aamer Farooq and Mohsin Akhtar Kiyani rejected the plea to grant bail to 69-year-old Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo after hearing arguments by his lawyer Khawaja Harris.

During previous hearings of the case, Haris told the court that his client was suffering from multiple dangerous diseases including diabetes, blood pressure and cardiac-related problems that cannot be treated in Pakistan, pleading to the bench to grant him bail as his life is in danger.

National Accountability Bureau (NAB) prosecutor Jahanzeb Bharwana opposed the bail plea by saying adequate medical care was given to the former premier and and asked the court to dismiss the petition.

The superintendent of the Kot Lakhpat jail and a medical officer earlier this week informed the court that Sharif’s health condition was better under the current medical treatment offered to him.

Sharif and his family have denied any wrongdoing and allege that the corruption cases against them were politically motivated.

On March 26, the Supreme Court suspended Sharif’s seven-year sentence in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills corruption case and granted him bail for six weeks with a condition that he would not leave Pakistan.

In May, the apex court rejected his review petition seeking bail on medical grounds and permission to go abroad for medical treatment.

The apex court ordered him to surrender before the court as soon as his interim bail period ended. The bench, however, suggested his counsel to approach appropriate forum to get relief.

Sharif’s counsel had approached IHC and cited medical reports stating that his condition was critical and required a stress-free environment to recuperate.

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