IHC orders to form medical board on Zardari’s ailment

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Staff Report

ISLAMABAD

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday ordered Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) to form a medical board to determine former president Asif Ali Zardari’s ailment and asked to submit a new medical report by December 11.

A two-member bench presided by IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah heard the petition which sought Zardari’s bail on medical grounds.

During the hearing, the court inquired about Zardari’s latest medical report from his lawyer Farooq H Naek.

“He has cardiovascular disease. Punjab government had formed a medical board previously,” Naek replied.

Adjourning the hearing till December 11, the court ordered that Zardari’s personal physician to be made part of the new medical board.

The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) president, who was arrested in June this year for his alleged role in a multi-billion rupees money laundering case, moved the court on Tuesday over a month after the former premier Nawaz Sharif was given similar relief.

The government later also permitted Nawaz to fly abroad for treatment.

Currently, under treatment at the PIMS hospital in Islamabad, Zardari moved the petition through his lawyer and nominated the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and Islamabad Accountability Court-II as respondents.

The petition says Zardari has been suffering from multiple diseases — like diabetes, cervical lumbar and spondylosis, sensory and motor neuropathy with impaired proprioception.

According to the petition, Zardari has a Holter monitor attached to his chest, enabling doctors to check and note variations in his heartbeat and blockages in his arteries. It also notes that Zardari is a patient of ischemic heart disease, which means his heart may have an inadequate supply of blood and oxygen.

The petition also states that Zardari suffers from arthritis with a low platelet count, and all these illnesses cannot be treated within the premises of the jail. “The petitioners’ condition makes it evident that his continued incarceration would prove detrimental to his life.”

It says the former president requires around the clock attention and with his deteriorating health, his life may be at risk. The petition states that Zardari has been in jail since October 22, 2019, and has not shown any signs of improvement.

“The petitioner has spent his entire life in the service of the people of Pakistan and has struggled so much for Pakistan that he has lost his health in the process.”

The petition, while claiming that the former president is being victimized due to political reasons and has been wrongly implicated in false and fabricated cases, requests the court to grant him post-arrest bail on medical grounds in Park Lane reference which is connected with the money laundering case.