Former federal minister and PPP Karachi president Dr Asim Hussain will likely miss a medical examination he was scheduled to undergo in London this week. A court hearing a plea for the removal of his name from the Exit Control List (ECL), which bars him from travelling abroad, on Tuesday adjourned the matter till May 15.
During the last hearing, Dr Hussain's lawyer had informed the Sindh High Court (SHC) that his client wanted to travel to London on May 7 for 'medical treatment recommended by a medical board', and expected to return on May 21.
Counsel Sardar Latif Khosa again reminded the court today that Dr Hussain was scheduled to be medically examined in the UK on May 12. Khosa said a medical board had recommended that Dr Hussain undergo a spinal surgery abroad.
The counsel had defended Dr Hussain's plea by referencing to former military ruler Pervez Musharraf and model Ayyan Ali, who were allowed to travel abroad after their names were struck off the ECL.
However, the former petroleum minister will likely miss his 'appointment' as the SHC, instead of issuing a directive, adjourned the hearing of the plea till May 15, saying it wanted replies from the deputy attorney general and the National Accountability Bureau's prosecutor.
The interior ministry, on behalf of the federal government, on Tuesday also submitted its response to the court's prior questions. It informed the court that Dr Hussain's name had been added to the ECL on November 24, 2015 on NAB's recommendation that the accused was involved in massive corruption and misuse of authority.
The ministry said his name was further placed on the ECL on April 6 this year in compliance with an SHC order.
Dr Hussain approached the SHC and an antiterrorism court (ATC) for the removal of his name from the ECL last month.
On April 15, the ATC had allowed him to travel abroad after submitting a surety of Rs2 million. It also ruled that if Dr Hussain does not return, the state should take over his hospitals.
The close aide of Asif Zardari was released from a sub-jail set up for him at the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre on March 31 after a little over 19 months in detention.
He was granted bail in two corruption references filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for allegedly causing huge losses to the national exchequer through corrupt practices.
Dr Hussain, who was serving as chairman of the Sindh Higher Education Commission, was picked up by Rangers personnel on Aug 26, 2015 for his alleged involvement in offences falling within the ambit of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997.
He remained in Rangers’ preventive detention for 90 days before being handed over to police in a case registered against him and others for allegedly treating and harbouring suspected terrorists, political militants and gangsters at his hospital on the request of Rauf Siddiqui, Wasim Akhtar and Saleem Shahzad of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM); Pak Sarzameen Party president Anis Kaimkhani; PPP’s Abdul Qadir Patel, and Pasban’s Usman Moazzam.
Later, NAB obtained his custody for interrogation and investigation into his alleged involvement in corruption. One of the two corruption cases pertained to causing loss of Rs462.5 billion by allegedly misusing his powers, while the other related to award of processing gas from five fields in lower Sindh without conducting an open auction, incurring a huge loss of Rs17.34bn to the national exchequer.