The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday constituted a medical board comprising doctors of the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) and the personal physician of former president Asif Ali Zardari to examine his health condition.
Hearing a petition seeking post-arrest bail for Mr Zardari on medical grounds, an IHC division bench comprising Chief Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Aamer Farooq sought a report from the medical board on Dec 11, when it will resume the hearing of the identical petitions filed by the former president as well as another bail petition filed by his sister Faryal Talpur in the fake bank accounts case.
The court also directed the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to submit a para-wise reply to these petitions.
Asks NAB to submit reply to bail petitions of former president and his sister
Advocate Farooq H. Naek, the counsel for Mr Zardari, argued before the court that the former president “is a chronic patient suffering from multiple ailments. He is a heart patient having three stents in his heart. He has a Holter Monitor attached to his chest so that the doctors are able to check and note variations in his heartbeat and blockages in his arteries. The petitioner is a patient of ischemic heart disease, which means that his heart may have inadequate supply of blood and oxygen”.
Mr Naek argued that Mr Zardari also “suffers from various other ailments such as cervical and lumbar spondylosis, sensory and motor neuropathy with impaired proprioception”.
The petition states: “The case against the petitioner is that the matter arouse out of inquiries initiated by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) regarding fake/benami accounts connected with various individuals and entities. Another inquiry was also initiated on receipt of Suspicious Transaction Reports (STRs) from the Financial Monitoring Unit (FMU) of State Bank of Pakistan (SBP). An investigation team headed by Dr Nazaf Quli Mirza, additional director general FIA, was constituted to investigate the matter.”
According to the petition, former chief justice Saqib Nisar took suo motu notice of the case and transferred it to NAB.
Initially, the IHC granted interim bail to Mr Zardari and Ms Talpur in this case on Aug 18 last year, but NAB arrested the petitioner following dismissal of his bail plea on June 10 this year.
The petition said that NAB had detained Mr Zardari for 68 days and then the court sent him to Adiala jail on judicial remand. However, in October the petitioner was shifted to PIMS owing to his deteriorating medical condition.
According to the petition, Mr Zardari “is seriously ill and his condition is unstable … the petitioner is chronic patient suffering from various ailments including but not limited to cardiovascular disease … the petitioner is, undoubtedly suffering from multiple ailments and as such, needs treatment in conducive conditions free from any kind of pressure and stress. In custody, it cannot be said that the petitioner shall have full peace of mind”.
Subsequently, the court was requested that “the petitioner may graciously be granted bail after arrest”.