Despite bail, freedom eludes Dr Asim

SHC’s Nazir does not issue his release order as the PPP leader’s passports not deposited


Naeem Sahotra March 31, 2017
Dr Asim. PHOTO: FILE

KARACHI: The PPP leader Dr Asim Hussain – who was granted bail in graft cases on Wednesday – could not be released on Thursday as his counsel did not submit his passports which are already deposited with another court of law.

A close aide of the former president Asif Ali Zardari, Dr Asim was taken into 'preventive detention' by the Rangers on August 27, 2015. Later, he was handed over to the police in connection with a case related to alleged treatment and harbouring of the terrorists at his private health facilities in Karachi.

Dr Asim Hussain granted bail – finally

Last year on November 1, the SHC granted him bail in this case. However, the PPP leader remained in jail seeking bail in the corruption references filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) against alleged graft of Rs479 billion.

Finally, the SHC on Wednesday granted him bail in these references and directed the former federal minister to deposit two Rs2.5million surety bonds as well as his original Pakistani and Canadian passports with the SHC’s Nazir.

While surety bonds were furnished on Thursday, Dr Asim’s passports could not be deposited with the high court, as they are already deposited with an anti-terrorism court (ATC), where he is facing trial in connection with the case of alleged treatment and harbouring terrorists.

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On Thursday, Dr Asim’s lawyer filed an application seeking direction for the SHC’s Nazir to accept the surety bonds and to issue his release order, informing that his clients’ original passports are already lying with the ATC on the direction passed by the SHC on Nov 1, 2016.

Advocate Anwar Mansoor Khan argued that deposit of the passports – whether before the ATC or the SHC – was in fact a deposit before a court of law. Therefore, there was a substantial compliance of the SHC’s March 29 order.

This application was moved before a two-judge bench – comprising Justice Syed Muhammad Farooq Shah and Karim Khan Agha – which had earlier given a split verdict on his bail pleas. However, Justice Shah, who had denied bail in the split verdict, declined to hear the application.

The matter was later referred to the SHC Chief Justice Ahmed Ali M Sheikh, for constituting a new bench to hear the application. But, the CJ Ahmed was out of the city on Thursday.

The court officials said subsequently the matter was placed before the SHC’s senior puisne judge, Irfan Saadat Khan, but he also declined to pass any order, observing that only the chief justice had the powers to form a new bench.

The court officials said the matter is now likely to be placed before the CJ upon his return to the city on Friday (today).

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