Nawaz’s bail plea against IHC verdict: SC summons response from NAB

Arshad Waheed Chaudhry

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Tuesday issued notices to the National Accountability Bureau and others, as it heard a petition filed by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif against a verdict by the Islamabad High Court dismissing his bail application in the Al-Azizia corruption reference.

A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and comprising Justice Sajjad Ali Shah and Justice Yahya Afridi summoned a response from the accountability watchdog within a week.

Five of Nawaz's medical reports were presented before the bench, at which the chief justice remarked that the court would need to read all of the former prime minister's medical reports. 

"We are aware that Nawaz's treatment was conducted in London," CJP Khosa observed, when told by Nawaz's lawyer Khawaja Haris that the former premier's doctor David Lawrence is based in London. 

The chief justice further remarked that the reports from London were not provided to the doctors in Pakistan, and that the court would examine the medical reports of tests conducted at PIMS in Islamabad.

"According to Nawaz's second medical report, his blood pressure is quite high, and he suffers from a kidney stone, hepatitis, diabetes and heart ailment," Justice Khosa observed.

"Did Nawaz Sharif face [these medical issues] earlier as well? If Nawaz Sharif's condition had deteriorated before [this time] as well, then the situation would be different," the top judge stated. 

"Everyone knows Nawaz takes medications for a number of conditions. Prior to the elections, he also [participated] in rallies," Justice Khosa remarked.  

The apex court adjourned the hearing of the petition till March 26.

The Islamabad High Court on February 25 had dismissed Nawaz’s petition seeking bail and suspension of his seven-year sentence in the Al-Azizia reference on medical grounds.

The former premier has been imprisoned at Kot Lakhpat jail since December 2018 following his conviction in a corruption reference in line with the Supreme Court’s July 2017 verdict. On December 24, an accountability court in Islamabad had sentenced Nawaz to seven years in prison along with a fine of Rs1.5 billion and US$25 million in the corruption reference.