Senator-elect Ishaq Dar has been suffering from left arm and chest pains resulting from a spinal issue in his neck and may require surgery if his condition does not improve within a month, the Supreme Court was informed on Monday.
The top court has summoned the former finance minister, who has been in London since October 2017 and was declared absconder by an accountability court in a corruption reference, on May 8 in a petition challenging his election to the Senate.
A medical report submitted by Dar's counsel in the SC today, which has been issued by the London Neurosurgery Partnership and dated April 26, states that Dar has also had cardiac issues and had to undergo an emergency stent implant in the past.
The report signed off by Consultant Neurosurgeon Richard Gullan states that an MRI had shown "quite bad spondylitic change" in Dar's neck after he started experiencing "quite unpleasant left arm and chest pain symptoms".
"At this point in time he is probably getting to the stage where one may need to consider surgical options more seriously," the report says.
Doctors have recommended that the absconding PML-N leader undergo spinal physiotherapy for 6-8 weeks as a trial. If that does not improve his condition, surgery will be considered as the best option to make more room for the nerve roots in his cervical spine, the report added.
"We will keep a close eye on him [Dar] and plan to review him in about a month's time," Dr Gullan said. The report is silent about whether the former finance minister should avoid travelling or not.
Defence counsel Salman Aslam Butt had informed the SC at the last hearing that doctors had advised Dar in London not to travel for at least six weeks but that his client was seeking a second opinion.
The CJP had asked the counsel to inform Dar that he should comply with the earlier orders by appearing in person before the court on May 8, the next date of hearing, even if he had to come in an ambulance.
Dar, who was re-elected to the upper house on March 3, 2018, as an independent PML-N-backed candidate, has not yet taken oath as a Senator.
His eligibility was challenged by PPP's Nawazish Pirzada who contended that an absconder could not contest elections. Dar was declared an absconder by the accountability court last year for his failure to appear in court since he has been in London allegedly receiving medical treatment.
In his challenge, Pirzada had objected to the election of the former minister arguing that he was not entitled to contest Senate polls under Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution. The entire system would be affected if the absconder was allowed to contest the elections, he contended.
In a rejoinder, the defence counsel had pleaded before the court to dismiss the petition as not maintainable. He argued that the 18th Amendment had repealed the amendment inserted through the Legal Framework Order (LFO) and then preserved through 17th Amendment in Article 63(1) of the Constitution according to which a person convicted of having absconded was declared disqualified to contest elections.