Top court rejects ex-PM’s bail extension plea

Nawaz Sharif was seeking extension in his bail and permission to go abroad for medical treatment
KARACHI, Pakistan: Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Friday turned down former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s plea seeking an extension in his bail in a graft case on medical grounds, court records and local media reported.

The judges also rejected Sharif’s petition seeking permission for cardiac treatment at a London hospital where he had undergone open-heart surgery in 2015, local broadcaster Geo News reported.

The three-time premier, who has been sentenced to 17 years in jail in two corruption cases, was granted a six-week bail by the top court last month after a medical board suggested his shifting to a hospital for immediate cardiac treatment.

His bail will expire on May 7.

According to the top court’s judgment, Sharif, 69, has to surrender himself to the jail authorities following expiry of his bail.

His daughter and potential political heir Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Mohammad Safdar had also been sentenced to seven years and one year in prison respectively in a corruption case. The two are also out on bail.

Nawaz Sharif denies the charges and accuses the “establishment” — a term meant to designate the country’s powerful army and a section of the judiciary — of “targeting” him and his family.

In July 2017, he was disqualified by the Supreme Court over the Panama Papers scandal, which also led to the filing of three corruption cases. Not long after, the top court also barred him from holding the leadership of his party.

Sharif served as premier in 1990-1992, 1997-1999, and 2013-2017, but was unable to complete even a single five-year term. His two previous governments were dismissed over corruption charges and through a bloodless military coup in 1992 and 1999, respectively.–AA

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