‘Unforgivable damage will occur if bail is not extended’: Nawaz files appeal in SC

Ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday filed an application in the Supreme Court seeking an extension in his six-week bail in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills corruption reference.

The application calls for an extension in bail — which expires on May 7 — until the verdict of his review petition of the March 26 order, which seeks permission for Sharif to leave the country.

Last week, Sharif had sought the Supreme Court’s permission to go abroad for medical treatment through a review petition — four weeks into his bail, which does not allow him to leave the country.

“Given the complicated and life-threatening nature of ischemic heart disease, carotid artery disease, lymphadenopathy and renal artery stenosis, from which the petitioner [Nawaz Sharif] is admittedly suffering […] it is in the interest of justice that condition imposed for the petitioner’s release on bail merits review,” argued the review petition filed by Sharif through his counsel Khawaja Haris Ahmed.

It contended that the only feasible option available to Sharif was to be treated by the same medical practitioners who were looking after him earlier in the United Kingdom.

“Unforgivable damage will occur if the bail is not extended,” the application read, adding that there was hope that the review petition filed in the SC would be accepted.

On March 26, the Supreme Court had suspended Sharif’s sentence and granted him bail for six weeks — but with a condition that he would not leave Pakistan during that period.

All the previous and fresh reports and recommendations by special medical boards as well as different specialists regarding Sharif’s health were enclosed with the petition.

The former premier had challenged the Feb 25 Islamabad High Court order of turning down his bail plea on medical grounds in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills corruption reference. The PML-N supreme leader is on bail in the Avenfield properties reference in which an accountability court had convicted and sentenced him to 10 years in prison. The IHC had suspended the sentence.

In its March 26 order, the Supreme Court had recalled that because of long, complicated cardiac surgical history, cardiac surgical backup was recommended during catheterisation. It has clearly been mentioned in such reports that while undergoing angiography, Sharif “will be at a mild [to] moderate risk of contrast including nephropathy”, the order said.

“In this peculiar backdrop, and extending due deference to the consistent medical opinion of senior doctors, counsel’s prayer regarding Nawaz Sharif’s admission to bail upon suspension of his sentence for a limited period has been found by us to be reasonable. This petition is, therefore, converted into an appeal and the same is allowed and consequently Nawaz Sharif is admitted to bail upon suspension of his sentence,” the order concluded.

The order further said that Sharif will have to surrender to the law once the six week period expired and that he could not apply for an extension in the bail without doing so.

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