Ailing former Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday filed an application in the Supreme Court seeking an extension in his six-week bail on medical grounds, saying “unforgivable damage” will occur if his plea is rejected.
On March 26, the Supreme Court suspended Sharif’s sentence in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills corruption case and granted him bail for six weeks — but with a condition that he would not leave Pakistan during that period.
The application calls for an extension in bail — which expires on May 7 — until the verdict of his review petition of the March 26 order, which seeks permission for Sharif to leave the country, Dawn newspaper reported. The Supreme Court has fixed a hearing on May 3 and a three-member special bench led by Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa will hear the matter, Geo News reported.
Last week, the 69-year-old and three-time prime minister sought the apex court’s permission to go abroad for medical treatment through a review petition — four weeks into his bail, which does not allow him to leave the country. “Given the complicated and life-threatening nature of ischemic heart disease, carotid artery disease, lymphadenopathy and renal artery stenosis, from which the petitioner [Nawaz Sharif] is admittedly suffering […] it is in the interest of justice that condition imposed for the petitioner’s release on bail merits review,” argued the review petition filed by Sharif through his counsel.
It contended that the only feasible option available to Sharif was to be treated by the same medical practitioners who were looking after him earlier in the United Kingdom. “Unforgivable damage will occur if the bail is not extended,” the application said, adding that there was hope that the review petition filed in the apex court would be accepted.
All the previous and fresh reports and recommendations by special medical boards as well as different specialists regarding Sharif’s health were enclosed with the petition. The former premier had challenged the Feb 25 Islamabad High Court order of turning down his bail plea on medical grounds in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills corruption case.
The PML-N supreme leader is on bail in the Avenfield properties case in which an accountability court had convicted and sentenced him to 10 years in prison. The IHC had suspended the sentence. In its March 26 order, the Supreme Court had recalled that because of long, complicated cardiac surgical history, cardiac surgical backup was recommended during catheterisation.
The order further said that Sharif will have to surrender to the law once the six week period expired and that he could not apply for an extension in the bail without doing so.
Sharif and his family have denied any wrongdoing and allege that the corruption cases against them were politically motivated.