Islamabad, Feb 21 : The Islamabad High Court (IHC) reserved its decision on a petition seeking suspension of the seven-year sentence awarded to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills reference, on medical grounds.
An IHC division bench comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani reserved the judgement after lead defence counsel Khawaja Haris Ahmed and Additional Prosecutor General of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Jahanzeb Bharwana concluded their arguments, Dawn reported.
Mr Haris contended before the court that successive medical boards had reported that Mr Sharif was suffering from multiple diseases and recommended his further medical examination and investigation.
He said that the former prime minister was facing problems related to kidney, heart, hypertension and diabetes. The counsel said it was Mr Sharif’s fundamental right to get medical treatment from doctors and hospital of his choice.
NAB’s Additional Prosecutor General Bharwana opposed the suspension of the sentence, saying that the medical reports had not raised apprehension that Mr Sharif’s life was at stake for being imprisoned.
He argued that the Supreme Court, in various cases including NAB’s appeal against suspension of sentence of Mr Sharif in the Avenfield properties reference, had outlined criteria according to which the high court could not grant bail to any convict under such circumstances.
Citing a letter annexed to the petition of Mr Sharif, Mr Bharwana said that as per the letter, Mr Sharif might proceed to the United Kingdom for his medical treatment.
The letter from Dr David Lawrence advises Mr Sharif to visit his hospital in the UK for medical treatment at the earliest.
However, the IHC bench reminded the prosecutor that Mr Sharif’s name was on the Exit Control List and he could not go abroad without approval by the government.