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Islamabad High Court grants bail on medical grounds to ailing Nawaz Sharif in Al-Azizia corruption case

Islamabad High Court grants bail on medical grounds to ailing Nawaz Sharif in Al-Azizia corruption case
Highlights

The court ordered that Sharif should be released on production of two surety bonds worth Rs 20 million each.

ISLAMABAD: A top Pakistani court in an emergency hearing on Saturday granted bail to jailed former prime minister Nawaz Sharif on medical and humanitarian grounds till Tuesday in the Al-Azizia steel mills corruption case, a day after he was given temporary freedom in another graft case on similar grounds.

The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Friday granted bail to 69-year-old Sharif on medical grounds in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills case.

However, he could not be released as he was jailed in the Al-Azizia steel mills case.

A two-member bench of the LHC, headed by Justice Baqar Najafi, heard the petition of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N ) President Shahbaz Sharif seeking the release of his elder brother from the custody of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on medical grounds in the money laundering case and accepted it.

On Saturday, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) in an emergency hearing granted bail to Sharif till Tuesday on medical and humanitarian grounds after his younger brother Shehbaz approached the court in the morning seeking the release of the three-time prime minister in the Al-Azizia steel mills case.

The court on Friday heard Sharif's case, but adjourned the hearing of his bail plea in the Al-Azizia steel mills case until October 29.

It decided to take up the new application on Saturday due to Sharif's deteriorating health.

The development came shortly after the NAB, in its response to the IHC, said that it had "no objections to bail being granted" The court granted the interim bail to Sharif until Tuesday when it would to take up the earlier application to suspend his sentence and release him on bail.

The court ordered that Sharif should be released on production of two surety bonds worth Rs 20 million each.

During the hearing, the IHC chief justice said that if the government opposes the bail plea then the court will dismiss the petition for Sharif's bail.

"During this time period, if anything happens to Nawaz Sharif then the government and the NAB will be responsible," remarked the court's top judge.

The PML-N supremo was rushed to the Services Hospital in Lahore from the NAB office late on Monday night after a massive drop in his platelet count.

The court was informed that Sharif suffered a minor heart attack on Friday night and should be released without any delay.

The new plea was heard by a two-member bench comprising IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kiyani.

Sharif is also serving a seven-year imprisonment in the Al-Azizia corruption case.

He was in Kot Lakhpat jail but early this month was sent to the custody of NAB which is probing the Sharif family in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills case.

The former premier was rushed to the hospital on Monday night after his platelets dropped to a dangerously low level.

On Thursday evening, Sharif's platelet count again dropped from 20,000 to 6,000.

Dangerous internal bleeding can occur when the platelet count falls below 10,000 platelets per microliter, according to doctors.

The doctors told the court that Sharif was suffering from diabetes, gout, and has blood pressure issues along with heart and liver diseases.

Punjab Health Minister Yasmin Rashid said on Friday that Prime Minister Imran Khan has ordered to provide best medical treatment to Sharif.

Khan has also issued directives to keep Maryam Nawaz, Sharif's daughter, with him at the same hospital after the federal government faced criticism for shifting her back to jail in a corruption case.

Maryam was admitted to the Services Hospital in Lahore on Wednesday where she was rushed from the high-security Kot Lakhpat jail to meet Sharif on account of his deteriorating health on the directives of Khan and felt sick.

On December 24, 2018, an accountability court had sentenced Sharif to seven years in prison in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills corruption case and acquitted him in the Flagship case.

In a short verdict announced, the court said there was concrete evidence against the former premier in the Al-Azizia case and that he was unable to provide a money trail in the case.

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