KARACHI: An accountability court on Saturday allowed former petroleum minister Dr Asim Hussain to travel abroad for medical treatment.
During the hearing of the corruption references filed against former president Asif Ali Zardari’s close aide, the court ordered daily hearings of the case and adjourned proceedings till June 11.
Hussain and other accused were present in court during today’s hearing. Speaking to the media after leaving the court premises, the former petroleum minister said he expects elections to be held as per schedule and added that it is a good omen that democracy is flourishing in the country.
Criticising the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), the PPP leader said the party does not see corruption within its own ranks and instead hurls accusations of corruption at its opponents.
He also predicted that the upcoming government at the center would be a coalition and added that if the PPP again wins in Sindh, then either Murad Ali Shah or Faryal Talpur would be selected for the chief minister position.
Hussain further stated that the party led by Bilawal Bhutto Zardari may form a government at the federal level.
Hussain, a close friend of PPP Co-Chairperson Asif Ali Zardari, was picked up by the Rangers from his office in Clifton for his alleged involvement in facilitating the treatment of terrorists at his private hospitals and misappropriation of funds. The Rangers took him into custody for 90 days and he was later handed over to the police after cases were registered against him for treating and harbouring militants and gangsters at his hospital.
The former petroleum minister has been accused of corruption. In 2016, he was indicted by an accountability court in a Rs460 million corruption reference. Among other cases, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) also filed a reference of Rs60 billion against him for misusing authority to allot plots and encroach upon state land for the expansion of Ziauddin Hospital, which is owned by him. During his previous tenure as head of the Sindh HEC, allegations were leveled against him regarding misuse of the commission’s funds.
During his stay in jail, the PPP also made him president of its Karachi division. However, a few months after his release, he was told to relinquish the post and was replaced by Saeed Ghani in November last year.