LAHORE: The sentence of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo, Nawaz Sharif, in the Al-Azizia reference has been suspended by the interim Punjab cabinet, it emerged on Tuesday.
Talking to Geo News, Caretaker Information Minister Amir Mir confirmed the Punjab cabinet’s move, saying the decision was taken while exercising its constitutional powers under Section 401 of the Criminal Procedural Code (CPC), which also authorises it to pardon any offender. The approval was given through a circulation summary. “The final decision of the case will be taken by the court itself,” he added.
Senior Punjab PMLN leader Azma Bukhari told The News that the caretaker Punjab government had referred the case to court, which was hearing the appeals of the former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.Later, speaking to reporters at the Jinnah Hospital, Caretaker Chief Minister Punjab Mohsin Naqvi clarified that the sentence in the Al-Azizia Reference was not suspended and the case had been referred to court.He pointed out that during the Buzdar administration, Nawaz Sharif’s request was dismissed without a fair hearing. Now, the court is entrusted with the decision of granting or denying bail. The caretaker chief minister said the case had been forwarded to the court under Section 401 and assured that such applications will also be addressed promptly.
It is pertinent to mention that PMLN leader Nawaz Sharif had requested the Punjab government to suspend the sentence under Criminal Procedural Code Section 401, which empowered the government to suspend the punishment of a criminal.Sources in the Punjab government revealed that the legal wizards of PMLN leader had filed a request before the caretaker Punjab cabinet for suspension of sentence in the Al-Azizia Reference.
Sources said the caretaker Punjab cabinet heard the application through a video link on Nawaz Sharif’s request from his lawyers, Azam Nazir Tarar and Amjad Pervez.
The Punjab chief secretary was also present during the hearing, which was later unanimously approved by the Punjab cabinet.In his media talk, the caretaker CM emphasised the need for early elections and expressed confidence in the election commission’s capacity to make sound decisions. He underscored the significance of conducting transparent elections, assuring that his administration would uphold their duty diligently.
Naqvi highlighted the absence of a dedicated government cancer hospital for the 14-crore people of Punjab. While acknowledging the quality of private-sector cancer hospitals, he lamented their inaccessibility to a significant portion of the populace. He announced the forthcoming establishment of a state-of-the-art cancer hospital in Manawan, which is expected to be fully operational within three months.Naqvi acknowledged that, according to court orders, doctors are prohibited from going on strike and affirmed his reluctance to engage with those contemplating such actions. He assured the appointment of permanent medical superintendents in Punjab hospitals in the near future. Addressing concern about medicine availability, he disclosed that 70pc of required medicines are currently in supply, while the remaining 30pc face challenges due to increased prices. He acknowledged that work at the Jinnah Hospital has been sluggish but assured that substantial efforts are underway across all the major hospitals.
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