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ISLAMABAD: The Natio­nal Accounta­bility Bureau (NAB) has pleaded before the Supreme Court that former premier Nawaz Sharif, according to reports of the medical boards, does not manifest any serious ailment endangering his life.

In its report submitted in the court on Monday, the anti-graft watchdog said non-conclusive observation had been made in the partial and final medical reports of the medical boards constituted to examine him and their recommendations did not depict any serious ailment endangering his life.

The report has been furnished a day before the hearing of the former prime minister’s plea for bail on medical grounds.

At the last hearing on March 19, a three-judge SC bench, headed by Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, while issuing notices to respondents had asked them to furnish any material related to the case if they wanted to.

Security tightened on court premises as hearing of ex-PM’s appeal resumes today

The apex court, which is seized with Nawaz Sharif’s appeal against the Feb 25 Islamabad High Court (IHC) order of turning down his bail plea on medical grounds in the Al-Azizia corruption reference, will resume the hearing on Tuesday (today).

In its report, NAB highlighted three previous SC judgements to establish that the superior courts had already determined guidelines for the suspension of the sentence as well as bail. It added such a benefit was always considered to be an extraordinary jurisdiction that should be exercised in extraordinary circumstances and in cases of extreme hardship.

According to NAB, it is crystal clear that the former prime minister’s contention in the petition seeking the relief on medical grounds is based on past medical history. The report contended this ground had been relinquished by Nawaz Sharif himself earlier as well and therefore a fresh plea could not be considered at this stage.

Moreover, the medical reports were being misinterpreted, NAB stated, adding the Punjab home department had constituted a special medical board on Jan 25 which recommended further medical investigations.

Subsequently, the former prime minister was admitted to hospital where a larger medical board was constituted by the medical superintendent of Services Hospital Lahore. Later on Feb 14, a special medical board comprising seven doctors was constituted. It submitted an interim report on Feb 16 and then a final report on Feb 18.

According to NAB, all such reports do not recommend any surgery rather manifests that care is to be meted out to Nawaz Sharif. The recommendations do not qualify the basic ingredient of extreme hardship or serious ailment endangering the life, the NAB report argued.

Referring to the documents regarding his renal functions, NAB alleged that the report appeared to be fabricated and [the ailment] was not serious in nature. It was allegedly aimed at building a case for Sharif to go beyond SC jurisdiction, NAB argued, adding that he was being given proper medical care and treatment.

The IHC had also considered all the aspects and properly evaluated the case while hearing the matter, the bureau said, pleading the apex court to dismiss Mr Sharif’s appeal since it was devoid of substance.

Security has been enhanced on the court premises in view of the case hearing on Tuesday when supporters and workers of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz are expected to turn up in large numbers.

In view of limited seating capacity in the courtroom, an announcement issued by the SC office explained, the entry on Tuesday would be regulated through special security passes to be issued by Super­intendent Police (Security) Supreme Court, Islamabad.

Only the petitioners/respondents whose cases are fixed in the court will be allowed to enter the premises. People who want to witness the case proceedings have been advised to contact the SP (security) for passes. However, lawyers and journalists who regularly come to the SC will be exempt from such requirement.

Entry to the court building will be allowed after checking/frisking and search of bags/purses, while no mobile phone will be allowed to be carried into the courtroom.

Published in Dawn, March 26th, 2019