KARACHI: While the federal government on Tuesday justified its decision of barring former federal minister and Pakistan Peoples Party’s Karachi president Dr Asim Hussain from leaving the country, his counsel told the Sindh High Court that his client “may lose his life” if he did not undergo a spinal surgery abroad.

Barrister Latif Khosa informed a two-judge bench that Dr Hussain was scheduled to be medically examined in the United Kingdom on May 12, seeking a directive for the interior ministry to remove his name from the Exit Control List immediately.

However, the former petroleum minister will surely miss his ‘appointment’ with doctors abroad as the bench put off the matter to May 15, directing the deputy attorney general and the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) prosecutor to submit their replies at the next hearing.

At the last hearing, barrister Khosa had informed the bench that Dr Hussain wanted to travel to London on May 7 for medical treatment and was expected to return on May 21.

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 Nov 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.

An antiterrorism court had on April 15 allowed Dr Hussain to travel abroad after submitting a surety of Rs2 million. It also ruled that if Dr Hussain did not return, the state should take over his hospitals.

Dr Hussain, a close aide to PPP co-chairman and former president Asif Ali 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 NAB for allegedly causing huge losses to the national exchequer through corrupt practices.

Bagh Ibne Qasim case

Extending its restraining order against the handover of Bagh Ibne Qasim to property developer Bahria Town, a two-judge SHC bench adjourned the hearing of a set of petitions against the provincial government and the real estate giant. The bench fixed the matter for May 30 after the respondent authorities and Bahria Town sought time to file their responses to the petitions.

The bench, headed by Justice Junaid Ghaffar, had on April 3 restrained the Sindh government from handing over Bagh Ibne Qasim to Bahria Town in response to a set of petitions filed by Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and a non-governmental organisation.

Published in Dawn, May 10th, 2017

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