Pak court rejects Nawaz’s plea seeking suspension of sentence on medical grounds

Srinagar: The Islamabad High Court on Monday rejected Nawaz Sharif’s plea seeking suspension of sentence in Al Azizia verdict on medical grounds.

A high court bench comprising Justice Amir Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kiyani ruled that the former prime minister will have to serve the sentence in prison, Express Tribune reported.

The former premier is currently undergoing treatment at the Jinnah Hospital in Lahore, where his room has been declared a sub-jail by the Punjab Home Department.

After an accountability court convicted him in the Al-Azizia corruption reference in December last year, Nawaz was moved to Adiala Jail. Upon request, he was shifted to Kot Lakhpat jail in Punjab’s capital to serve out the seven-year imprisonment sentence.

Days after the conviction, Nawaz’s legal team filed a general writ petition for suspension of the sentence. This was followed by an appeal challenging the verdict and another seeking suspension of the sentence on medical grounds. The bench had reserved the verdict on February 20.

The verdict was announced on Monday to a court-room packed with Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leaders and workers. Speaking to the media after the decision, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi lamented the decision. “We expected the IHC to grant bail. We have always accepted judiciary’s decisions and will take necessary legal steps.”

The deposed prime minister’s counsel, Khawaja Haris, then sought to withdraw the writ petition and pursue the plea seeking suspension of the sentence on medical grounds.

In an earlier hearing, the bench noted that Nawaz’s medical reports contradicted each others. “Different terminologies created different perception.”

The defence team argued that the atmosphere in the sub-jail caused ‘anxiety’ and appealed that Nawaz should be released from the ‘burden’.

NAB prosecutor Jahanzeb Bharwana maintained that the medical board formed to monitor Nawaz’s health had confirmed that all required medical facilities were available at Jinnah Hospital and Services Hospital.

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