ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday granted bail to former president Asif Ali Zardari on medical grounds in the Park Lane and mega money laundering corruption reference against surety bonds worth Rs10 million.
An IHC division bench comprising Chief Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Aamer Farooq took up the hearing of PPP leader Asif Ali Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur’s bail plea.
The IHC in its five-page decision states that Asif AliZardari has not been convicted and therefore he is to be treated as innocent unless proven guilty.
The court order further states, “Keeping in view the unambiguous opinion of the medical board, refusal to grant the petitioner bail on medical grounds would definitely be in violation of his fundamental right guaranteed under Article 9 of the Constitution. Even otherwise, it would be in public interest to grant bail in favour of the petitioner because his medical treatment during his incarceration is an expense on the public exchequer. Releasing him on bail will enable him to receive medical treatment of his choice and at his own expense.”
During the hearing, Zardari's medical report was produced before the bench, which had been prepared by a five-member medical board constituted by this court to examine the former president's health. The bench asked the NAB prosecutor to read out the Zardari’s medical report loudly.
Zardari’s medical report stated that he was suffering from type-2 diabetes and also facing heart ailments. Former president had three stents placed in him as he need an angiography. The report suggested that medical treatment of Asif Ali Zardari was not possible inside jail due to his current health condition.
The NAB prosecutor apprised the bench that his department had completed its investigation and filed a reference against Zardari and others. To this, IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah remarked that NAB still wants Zardari in jail and receive the medical treatment on government expenditure.
The NAB prosecutor 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. The court ordered the former president to submit surety bonds worth Rs10 million in order to secure his bail.
Meanwhile, the same bench heard a bail application filed by Zardari’s sister Faryal Talpur but adjourned the hearing until December 17 after the NAB requested the court to grant more time for submission of its reply against this petition. In an application filed earlier this month, Talpur maintained that she was the mother of a differently-abled child. In order to care for her child, she asked the court to grant bail until the completion of the trial.
On his request, the court directed the head of Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) to form a medical board and submit medical report of Asif Ali Zardari.
Asif Ali Zardari in his petition stated that he is suffering from heart ailment and three stents are already placed in his body and he is suffering from diabetes and there is a need to constantly monitor his blood sugar levels.
Asif Ali Zardari has requested the Islamabad High Court to grant him bail on medical grounds. He was under treatment at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS). Former president Asif Ali Zardari surrendered himself to the NAB team after the Islamabad High Court rejected his pre-arrest bail plea in money laundering case on June 10.
Meanwhile, Pakistan people’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said former president Asif Ali Zardari is a hunter and he will come out for hunting the player. “If this NAB and this government think that we will be pressurised by their tactics, this is their misunderstanding,” he said while talking to newsmen after the IHC granted bail to former president Asif Ali Zardari.
Asked which elements are telling him that there will be elections soon, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that the people of Pakistan wish and every Pakistani desires that this incapable and selected government which has destroyed the economy, destroyed our politics as they do not know how to run the country and they even do not know how to defend Kashmir, and everyone knows that this government has failed. I am giving you a political statement and not on anyone's signal. This is my political statement that this year is the last year of this government and we will form a people's government in next year and resolve people's issues,” he said.
The PPP chairman said, “We are thankful to the judges that today they did justice to us that President Zardari has been granted bail. All the workers have sided with the party in this difficult period and prayed. Because of these prayers, President Zardari has been granted medical bail,” he said.
He said with the connivance of NAB, the government is pressurising them and it wants to stop them by threats and pressure. “Even today in the case of Faryal Talpur, NAB did not bring its comments and response and now we will have to wait until 16th,” he said.
The PPP chairman said, “If this NAB and this government think that we will be pressurized by their tactics, this is their misunderstanding. I would like to tell them that there is a lot of power in the prayers of poor people of this country and President Zardari is now coming out and very soon President Zardari will be treated,” he said.
He said the medical report is quite concerning as different illnesses and issues which the report has identified, are serious and dangerous and we want his treatment as soon as possible.
Later, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari tweeted, “Thank you to every one for prayers for Asif Ali Zardari who has been granted bail by IHC. The medical report presented today were extremely concerning and we hope to seek medical care in Karachi as a soon as possible.”
Aseefa Bhutto Zardari, younger daughter of former President Asif Ali Zardari tweeted, “We have been so worried as the government was consistently denying my father access to his doctors. Government doctors clearly state a risk to my father’s life. Grateful for court’s decision to grant my father medical bail.”
While Bakhtawar Bhutto Zardari also through her twitter account tweeted, “Government has been especially vindictive to a former president not convicted of any crime allowing NAB absolute powers that even denied our visitations despite court orders. Alarming condition of health that has only deteriorated after he was illegally shifted from hospital in August.”
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