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Pakistan

Web Desk
December 11, 2019

IHC special bench grants bail to former president Asif Ali Zardari

Pakistan

Web Desk
Wed, Dec 11, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Islamabad High Court’s (IHC) special bench on Wednesday granted bail to former president Asif Ali Zardari on medical grounds in the Park Lane and mega money-laundering corruption cases, reported Geo News.

The court ordered the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairperson be released from jail after submitting surety bonds of Rs10 million.

Last week, the IHC had admitted a plea filed by the former president seeking bail on medical grounds in the two cases initiated against him by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). In his bail plea, Zardari said he was suffering from a heart condition and diabetes.

Zardari had been arrested by NAB on June 10 after cancellation of his pre-arrest bail. In October, Zardari was transferred from judicial custody at Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi to the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) in Islamabad after his health deteriorated.

During the hearing today, Zardari's counsel Farooq Naek submitted his client's medical reports to the court. The hearing was presided over by IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Amir Farooq presided.

Additional Prosecutor General Jahanzeb Bharwana and Deputy Prosecutor General Muzaffar Abbas were also present before the court on behalf of NAB. Upon the directions of the bench, NAB prosecutors read out the medical reports of Zardari to the courtroom.

According to the medical report, the former president is suffering from several diseases, including a heart condition, and is admitted at PIMS to get the best possible treatment. The court was assured that Zardari had access to doctors of his choice for seeking medical advice and assistance.

However, the report also conceded that it was not possible to provide the former president with medical care in jail. Upon hearing this, the court asked the NAB whether it was necessary to keep Zardari in detention any longer, since the references against him had already been filed.

NAB prosecutors told the court that there were some conditions under which Zardari's bail could be approved. After a few more inquiries, the court decided to grant bail to Zardari on medical grounds in the mega money laundering and Park Lane cases.

PPP Chairperson expresses relief after IHC decision

PPP chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari expressed relief at the IHC’s decision.

"We are thankful to the judges for their fair assessment of the situation in which the former president finds himself," Bilawal told media personnel outside the courtroom in Islamabad after the decision was announced.