Former president Asif Ali Zardari was on Thursday released from custody at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims), a day after he was granted bail by the Islamabad High Court (IHC) in the Park Lane and fake accounts cases on medical grounds.
The PPP leader was taken to Zardari House in the capital. Although he was expected to fly to Karachi today, the party decided against it.
Sindh Local Government Minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah said Zardari will spend the night at his Islamabad residence and will be shifted to Karachi tomorrow.
The former president was accompanied by his children Bilawal and Aseefa when he was allowed to leave Pims, which had been declared a sub-jail, after the completion of legal formalities. A large number of supporters gathered at the scene and threw rose petals on his car.
The IHC had on Wednesday granted post-arrest bail to Zardari in the Park Lane and fake accounts cases on medical grounds against surety bonds of Rs20 million and adjourned proceedings on the bail petition of his sister and lawmaker Faryal Talpur till December 17.
Both Zardari and Talpur had been under detention for the past six months, until the former's bail.
The court noted that the petitioner, who is one of the accused in a reference pending before an accountability court, “has not been convicted and, therefore, he is to be treated as innocent unless proven guilty”.
PPP information secretary and MNA Dr Nafeesa Shah while commenting on Zardari's release said today was a "good day" for the country and democracy.
She expressed the hope that like Zardari, other PPP leaders who are incarcerated due to "NAB's black law" will also be given relief.
Shah said the court had granted bail to Zardari on medical grounds and merit after government-appointed doctors recommended his treatment at a specialist care facility.
NAB had initiated proceedings against Zardari earlier this year while his arrest warrants were issued on June 10 after the rejection of his pre-arrest bail. He remained in the anti-graft watchdog's custody for 68 days before being sent to Adiala jail in August on judicial remand. During his incarceration, the health of the former president started deteriorating. After a couple of months, Zardari was taken to Pims for treatment on the recommendation of a medical board. He had been under treatment at the hospital since October 22.