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SC frees Nawaz Sharif for six weeks on medical grounds

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Tuesday freed incarcerated former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on bail for six weeks on medical grounds.

The apex court while suspending Nawaz’s sentence in NAB reference gave him the freedom to obtain medical treatment of his choice within the country.

After Sharif’s counsel successfully argued that the former prime minister urgently needed angioplasty, a three-judge bench led by Chief Justice of Pakistan Asif Saeed Khosa accepted Sharif’s appeal on medical grounds.

The court noted that several senior doctors had suggested that Sharif’s history of hypertension, cardiac and renal ailments may present a “mild-moderate risk” if he is to undergo angiography, and therefore granting him relief for a limited period was a “reasonable” request.

It subsequently directed Sharif to deposit two bail bonds worth Rs5 million each, receive medical treatment, and surrender his custody after six weeks.

Terms of the bail

  1. Nawaz Sharif shall not leave or be allowed to leave the country.
  2. Bail will automatically be cancelled upon expiry of six weeks from date of release.
  3. Sharif will have to surrender custody voluntarily, failing which he will be arrested.
  4. He will not be allowed to apply for further bail till he surrenders his custody.
  5. He is allowed treatment from medical practitioners and to avail medical facilities of his choice in Pakistan.
  6. If, during the period of his bail, the Islamabad High Court rules adversely in the appeal filed by Sharif before the IHC, the IHC will have full authority to decide how and when to arrest him.

The short order, read out by the chief justice in Court Room No 1, warned that Sharif will have to surrender himself to jail authorities once the six weeks are over. If he fails to surrender, he will be arrested. Sharif was further barred from leaving the country.

Khawaja Haris, Sharif’s legal counsel, had requested bail for eight weeks citing an “urgent angiography” required by Sharif.

After the short order was announced, Sharif’s daughter Maryam Nawaz expressed her relief via a tweet.

Several PML-N leaders, including former premier Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb, also welcomed the decision in talks with the media.

Sharif has been serving a seven-year prison sentence awarded to him by an accountability court in the Al Azizia corruption case.

The former premier had earlier filed a bail plea in the IHC on medical grounds, but it was turned down last month, as the high court noted that “none of the reports [about Sharif’s condition] suggest that continued incarceration of the petitioner, in any way, would be detrimental to his life”.

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