LHC grants bail to Nawaz on medical grounds

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Will have to submit two surety bonds of Rs10m each for his release: Dr Ayaz says something or the other is destroying Nawaz’s platelets; NAB didn’t oppose bail plea on humanitarian grounds

Staff Reporter

Lahore

The Lahore High Court on Friday granted bail to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif on medical grounds in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills case and the former premier will have to submit two surety bonds worth Rs10 million each for his release in the case.
PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif had filed the bail application for the release of his brother from the custody of the National Accountability Bureau. “We applied for bail on the grounds that his health conditions were deteriorating and that he needs better treatment,” his lawyer, Azam Nazir Tarar, told media after the ruling. It is not clear if Nawaz would be moved to another hospital or allowed to go abroad for treatment, as his lawyer had requested.
The National Accountability Bureau on Friday announced that it had chosen not to challenge former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s bail in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills case, on humanitarian grounds.
Although the former premier is set to be released from the custody of NAB, he will not be free until a request seeking the suspension of his sentence, and release on bail, in the Al Azizia case is granted by the Islamabad High Court, which will next hold a hearing on Tuesday. Similarly, PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz’s recent plea for immediate release on humanitarian grounds has been adjourned by the LHC till Monday. Furthermore, the names of both Nawaz and Maryam are on the Exit Control List. Nawaz’s counsel was informed that a separate request will have to be filed challenging the placement on the no-fly list.
Former Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharif, commenting on the verdict, said that Nawaz Sharif was seriously ill and the nation needed to pray for his health. Shahbaz added that the bail of Nawaz’s daughter, Maryam Nawaz, should also be approved on medical grounds.
Earlier Friday, the prosecution and defence had concluded their arguments in the case. A two-member bench, headed by Justice Baqar Najafi, had heard the petition. The anti-corruption watchdog’s prosecutor told the court that “every life, including that of Nawaz Sharif, is precious”, adding that the former premier’s condition was treatable. Dr Ayaz submitted a detailed medical report of the former premier. He told the court that a medical board, which also includes Nawaz’s personal physician, meets twice everyday to discuss the PML-N supremo’s condition.
Nawaz’s lawyer Ashtar Ausaf told the court that the former premier’s condition was “extremely serious”. Dr Ayaz told the court that Nawaz’s platelet count was constantly reducing, adding that the hospital had conducted tests to see if Nawaz was suffering from dengue.
“We inject platelets every day but they destruct every day,” Dr Ayaz said and added: “Something or the other is destroying Nawaz Sharif’s platelets.” He said that steroids will have to be injected in order to treat Nawaz. “We have to conduct a bone marrow test but we cannot inject a needle in Nawaz Sharif’s bone.”
Dr Ayaz informed the court that Nawaz is a diabetes patient and is suffering from several other ailments as well. The bench had told the doctor to apprise the court about Nawaz’s recent condition by 12pm and had adjourned the hearing until later in the day.
An accountability court had earlier this month granted NAB a 14-day physical remand of Nawaz in connection with the Chaudhry Sugar Mills case. The remand had expired yesterday.
Meanwhile, a two-member bench of the IHC comprising Justice Aamir Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani heard Shahbaz’s petition seeking the suspension of Nawaz’s sentence in the Al-Azizia case and release on bail.
During the proceedings, Services Hospital Medical Superintendent (MS) Dr Saleem Cheema, who is a member of the medical board, said that Nawaz’s condition is dangerous.
The judge pointed out that the situation was not described as dangerous in the report. Dr Cheema, however, clarified that it had been mentioned towards the end of the report, which was presented in court.
The doctor said that the former premier’s ailment had not yet been diagnosed, adding that while platelets were being formed, the levels were also falling. He said that they have to conduct some tests but can only do so once Nawaz’s health improves.
Justice Kayani asked if the former premier was being provided with the best treatment, to which the doctor replied in the affirmative. The IHC judge asked if there was a threat to the former premier’s life, in response to which Dr Cheema said: “If he doesn’t receive immediate treatment, his life is in danger.”
He added that Nawaz’s personal physician Dr Adnan Khan was aware of the situation. “Is there any risk factor? Is this a fatal disease?” asked Justice Kayani, to which Dr Cheema responded: “If it is not treated.”
Justice Farooq said that doctors are the best judges in this situation and they can provide the correct information regarding the medical treatment.
The court asked Dr Adnan Khan what his concerns were, adding that if he wanted he could attend the hearing or submit his concerns in writing. The hearing was adjourned till Tuesday.
Concluding the proceedings, Justice Kayani said that they were not medical experts and the doctors would have to explain whether there was a threat to Nawaz’s life. He said that Nawaz could not be granted bail on a legal basis; however, the court was viewing the petition through the lens of the former premier’s medical condition.
Meanwhile, an accountability court in Lahore, where a hearing of the Chaudhry Sugar Mills case was held, had demanded Nawaz’s report by 1pm today. NAB produced Maryam Nawaz and Yousuf Abbas, both of whom are named in the case, before the accountability court.