LAHORE: Following the dismissal of bail petition in Al-Azizia reference case, former prime minister and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif was shifted to Kot Lakhpat Jail from Jinnah Hospital where he was being treated for cardiac issues.
According to Dunya News sources, Nawaz Sharif would be provided B-class facilities in the jail that include newspaper, TV, table, chair and bed.
Sharif would be kept in the jail’s security ward and Kot Lakhpak Jail Superintendent Ijaz Asghar would supervise the PML-N supremo’s security.
Punjab home department has decided to shift deposed premier Nawaz Sharif back to Kot Lakpath jail from Jinnah hospital, Lahore.
As per details, the medical board, constituted for the treatment of Nawaz, apprised the home department about the situation. “Nawaz has insisted to go back to the prison,” sources added.
Dozens of the PML-N workers, supporters and leaders reached the Jinnah Hospital as soon as the former PM was being shifted to jail. They chanted slogans in his favour.
In the wake of strong police presence, attendants of patients admitted at Jinnah Hospital had to face problems for quite some time.
Earlier, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) had dismissed a bail petition filed by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif on medical grounds in Al-Azizia reference case. An IHC bench comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani announced the verdict while the detailed judgment was uploaded on the website of the IHC.
The nine-page judgment mentioned that “where a prisoner is receiving medical treatment in hospital or in jail, he would not be entitled to the concession of bail; the petitioner has been hospitalized time and again since January, 2019, whenever he made complaints about his indisposition. In fact the reports of Board of Doctors and various Teams constituted, are indicative of the fact that petitioner is receiving best possible medical treatment available to any individual in Pakistan. The referred fact cannot be regarded as an ‘extraordinary situation’ and/or case of ‘extreme hardship’. Almost, every ailment has potential of being detrimental to one’s life but not, if the same is properly treated and taken care of, therefore, being indisposed per se cannot form basis to be released on bail.”
Another point of the judgment read “Finally, we find that objection taken by learned counsel for the respondents regarding maintainability of instant petition, is of no substance. The medical condition of the petitioner deteriorated on or about 15.01.2019 and it is only there-after that instant writ petition was filed. The case law cited by learned counsel for National Accountability Bureau is not attracted in the facts and circumstances of instant case.”
The judgment ended with remarks “For the above reasons, we find the instant petition to be without merit and the same is accordingly dismissed.”
Earlier on February 20, the bench reserved the decision regarding the suspension of seven-year sentence awarded to Sharif.
His defence counsel Khawaja Haris had told the court that the medical boards examining Sharif’s health have recommended his further medical examination after concluding that he has been suffering from various diseases.
Furthermore, he told the court that his health has been deteriorating over time while suffering from kidney, hypertension, diabetes and cardiac issues, and an angiography was required for his treatment.
He pleaded with the court to suspend the sentence of Sharif to enable him to acquire timely treatment from the doctor of his choice. He stressed that it was his fundamental right to get medical treatment from the doctor and the hospital of his choice.
Khawaja Haris also claimed that the provincial government of Punjab had hidden certain facts from the court in the earlier hearing.
Contrarily, the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) prosecutor strongly opposed the arguments put forward by Khawaja Haris and said Sharif’s medical reports did not suggest that his was in danger while being imprisoned.
Meanwhile, Sharif has been awaiting angiography at the Jinnah Hospital in Lahore.
In this regard, recommendations of a special medical board formed by the government have been sent to the Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar for further proceedings in the matter.
The accountability court on December 24 convicted Sharif in the Al-Azizia reference, and subsequently sentenced him to seven years in prison while acquitted him in the Flagship reference cases filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in mega corruption scandals.
In the 131-page judgement written by the accountability court judge Arshad Malik, reasons of his conviction were mentioned.
It said that the prosecution had successfully established all the ingredients of the offence of corruption committed by Sharif, and that he had failed to provide legal money trail of his assets.
Later, Sharif was arrested from the premises of the accountability court.
After spending a night at the Adiyala Jail in Rawalpindi, he was shifted to the Kot Lakhpat Jail in Lahore.
Earlier, the NAB had filed three cases – Avenfield, Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Hill Metal Establishment, and offshore companies, including Flagship Investment Limited – against the Sharifs on the Supreme Court’s directives in the July 2017 Panamagate verdict.
The trial commenced later in September that year.