Court turns down Zardari's plea to be shifted to Karachi for treatment

Published November 12, 2019
An accountability court in Islamabad reserved its verdict on an application submitted by former president Asif Ali Zardari on Tuesday requesting that he be shifted to Karachi for treatment. — AP/File
An accountability court in Islamabad reserved its verdict on an application submitted by former president Asif Ali Zardari on Tuesday requesting that he be shifted to Karachi for treatment. — AP/File

An accountability court in Islamabad on Tuesday turned down an application submitted by former president Asif Ali Zardari requesting that he be shifted to Karachi for treatment.

The former president had submitted the application through his lawyer, Farooq H. Naek, during the proceedings of the fake bank accounts case, which pertains to a massive money laundering scam that was previously being probed by the Federal Investigation Agency.

The application stated that Zardari's health is "worrisome" and he should be given permission to receive treatment of his choice, adding that he wants to be treated in Karachi.

Presiding over the hearing, accountability court judge Azam Khan asked where the suspects were and whether Anwar Majeed, one of the suspects in the case, had been brought to court. Majeed's counsel said that his client was unwell and will undergo a medical procedure in Karachi.

Zardari did not appear before the court either.

During the proceedings, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) prosecutor said that the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) has set two days for Zardari to meet his lawyers and three days to meet his family.

"There are five days set for meetings," he said, in response to which Zardari's counsel Naek remarked that if there are five days permitted, they could withdraw their application.

Zardari was brought to Pims from Adiala jail in Rawalpindi on October 22 and admitted to the cardiology department’s VIP ward. He underwent a number of tests and was declared to be out of danger.

During today's proceedings, another lawyer for Zardari, Latif Khosa, said that his client's entire medical history was in Karachi. He said Zardari was in the hospital but his medical history wasn't available in Islamabad.

Meanwhile, NAB opposed the application seeking to shift the former president to Karachi and said that if Zardari wanted to submit such a request, it should be submitted to the government.

He said the former president was being provided complete treatment and if he wanted to consult a private doctor, he should submit a request to the government, adding that Zardari had already been shifted from jail to a hospital.

"In order to secure our legal rights, we have submitted a request in this court," responded Khosa, adding: "Our ancestors did not beg any government, nor will we."

NAB's prosecutor again argued that the court had already shifted Zardari to the hospital, but for all other facilities, an application should be sent to the government.

"The application to shift [Zardari] to Karachi is not fit for hearing in this court," he argued, noting that the hospital had been declared a sub-jail.

Zardari's counsel responded: "Do you think that you will break Zardari's [spirit]? This is a misconception that you will break [his spirit]."

Khosa said that Zardari will not go overseas, nor would they submit such a request.

"They are about to send one patient overseas today and are not ready to provide Zardari his physician," he said, referring to former premier Nawaz Sharif.

Meanwhile, the court accepted a request by Zardari's sister, Faryal Talpur, to be permitted to meet him. The court said that Talpur can meet her brother once.

Extending the judicial remand for Zardari and Talpur, till Nov 26 in the case, the court initially reserved its verdict on the former president's request to be shifted to Karachi for treatment, later turning it down.

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