IHC to hear Nawaz's 'medical grounds' bail plea on Feb 18

Allows former premier to withdraw previous bail request, plea to suspend Al-Azizia verdict


Saqib Bashir February 12, 2019
Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday adjourned till February 18 hearing of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif's plea seeking bail on medical grounds in Al-Azizia Steel Mills case verdict.

Earlier, the court permitted former prime minister to withdraw his previous bail plea which was clubbed with his main appeal against an accountability court's December 24, 2018 verdict that held him guilty in the mills case and sentenced him to seven-year imprisonment.

An IHC divisional bench, comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhter Kiyani, on Tuesday conducted the hearing on miscellaneous petitions of Nawaz Sharif related to his bail.

Opposing the bail plea, the National Accountability Bureau's (NAB) prosecutor Jahanzeb Bharwana argued that Nawaz could amend his previous bail plea and could add medical reasons in it in accordance with the law.  "The court has to see whether the two petitions could be filed on one subject."

He pleaded that the petitioner had the option to mention the same reasons in his previous bail plea. "The imprisonment sentence could be suspended in only extraordinary situations in accordance of the apex court orders," he said.

Bharwana said the accused could avail bail only in hardship matter under NAB Ordinance 1999. Another NAB prosecutor Sardar Muzafar Abbasi pleaded that it would be appropriate if the accused withdrew his previous bail petition before filing a new one.

Justice Kiyani asked the petitioner's counsel whether the medical grounds also fall in hardship matters.    Nawaz's counsel Khawaja Haris said bail could also be granted due to delay in the case. The medical record produced before the bench is recommendation of a medical board, he said.

Justice Farooq remarked that hardship could be anything, delay in case proceeding was just a factor of it. Justice Kiyani said hardship vary from case to case.

Haris said when a person is dying in jail then merit is not considered. If the matter is related to just case delay then merit is viewed, he argued. He contended that a four-member medical board had given its recommendation after medical examination of Nawaz.

"Nawaz is suffering from the diseases related to cardiac, kidney and diabetes. His kidney problem is at third stage. One has to undergo of dialysis at the fifth stage of kidney problem," he added.

Haris said a new bail petition on medical grounds is filed in view of the health issues of former prime minister.  After hearing the arguments, the bench permitted Nawaz's counsel to withdraw his previous bail plea and adjourned hearing till coming Monday.

NAB's arguments

NAB in its reply to the IHC against Nawaz's suspension appeal prayed the court to dismiss a petition. It declared that the petition was redundant and stated, "In the instant matter it is admittedly and evidently submitted that the instant constitution petition is the second petition to an earlier writ petition bearing No32 of 2019 which has been filed with identical prayer that of the instant constitution petition and after hearing arguments in the honourable court has fixed for hearing the same on 18-02-2019 along with the main appeal under section32 of NAO, 1999 instituted by the petitioner."

Quoting the provisions of Section 10 of the Civil Procedure Court,1907, it said, "No court shall proceed with the trial of any suit in which the matter in issue is also directly and substantially in issue in a previously instituted suit between some parties, or between parties under whom they or any of them claim litigating under the same title where such a suit is pending in the same or any other court in [Pakistan] having jurisdiction to grant the relief claimed, or in any court beyond the limits of [Pakistan] established or continued by the government and having like jurisdiction or before the [Supreme Court]."

[WITH ADDITIONAL INPUT FROM APP]

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