Bail for Asif Zardari

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ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday granted bail to former president and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari on medical grounds in two cases filed against him by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on money laundering allegations.

The IHC granted bail to Zardari against two surety bonds of Rs10 million each.

A two-member bench comprising IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Aamir Farooq heard the application filed by the former president seeking bail due to his distorted health. NAB Prosecutor General Jahanzaib Bharwana and Deputy Prosecutor General Sardar Muzafar Abbasi represented the anti-corruption watchdog while Farooq H Naek argued on behalf of the former president.

During the course of the hearing, the NAB submitted Zardari’s medical report prepared by a five-member medical board, which was constituted on IHC’s orders to examine the health condition of the former president.

The bench told the NAB prosecutor to read the report aloud.

According to the medical report, Zardari is suffering from type-II diabetes and also faces heart ailments. It further revealed that the former president had three stents placed in him and needs another angiography. The report said it is not possible for the former president to receive proper treatment while in jail.

NAB’s legal team told the court that the bureau had completed its interrogation and filed a reference. “Does NAB want Zardari to remain under detention and receive treatment on state’s expenditure?” asked Justice Minallah. The NAB’s team kept silent over this query. Subsequently, the high court granted bail to Zardari in both the cases.

The bench also heard a bail application filed by Zardari’s sister Faryal Talpur but adjourned it until December 17 as NAB had not submitted a response.

In an application filed earlier this month, Talpur had maintained that she is the mother of a differently abled child. In order to care for her child, she had asked the court to grant her bail until the completion of the trail.

Zardari is scheduled to reach Karachi today where he will be treated at Ziauddin Hospital in Clifton as a VIP room has already been prepared for his medical check-up. Initially, his CT scan and angiography will be conducted whereas angioplasty will also be done if necessary. Head of National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD) Dr Nadeem Qamar will be Zardari’s consultant cardiologist.

While addressing media outside the IHC, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto thanked the judiciary for the relief to his father. Flanked by former Sindh chief minister Qaim Ali Shah and sister Aseefa Bhutto, Bilawal criticised the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for failing to present a response in a separate petition filed by PPP leader Faryal Talpur. He said Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government and the anti-graft watchdog are mistaken if they think they can pressurise the PPP. “I want them to know that the poor people of the country prayed for Zardari’s release,” he said.

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