Pakistani court grants Nawaz Sharif medical bail for eight weeks

Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who was temporarily released from prison, arrives to attend funeral services for his wife, Kulsoom, in Lahore, Pakistan September 14, 2018. (REUTERS/File Photo)
Updated 30 October 2019

Pakistani court grants Nawaz Sharif medical bail for eight weeks

  • Islamabad High Court says ex-PM can seek extension in bail from Punjab government “if need be”
  • Former premier is currently under treatment in a hospital in the eastern city of Lahore for an immune system disorder

ISLAMABAD/LAHORE: A Pakistani court on Tuesday granted eight-week medical bail to jailed former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, a week after the ex-premier was shifted to a hospital with an alarmingly low platelet count.
Sharif, 69, a three-time prime minister, has since suffered a heart attack in hospital where he was moved from jail. He is since last year serving a seven-year prison sentence handed down in a case involving corruption in a steel mill. He denies the charges and says they are politically motivated.
The former premier is currently under treatment in a hospital in the eastern city of Lahore for an immune system disorder, heart disease and miscellaneous ailments. His name remains on a no-fly list, preventing him from traveling abroad for medical treatment or other reasons. 
“We are granting bail [to Nawaz Sharif] for eight weeks on medical grounds,” the Islamabad High Court said in its ruling. “He [Sharif] can approach the Punjab government for an extension in the bail after eight weeks, if need be.”
On Saturday, a bench of the Lahore High Court granted medical bail to Sharif in a separate case involving corruption in a sugar mill. 
During Tuesday’s hearing, Sharif’s lawyer Khawaja Harris asked the court to allow his client to receive treatment from “doctors of his choice,” adding that the former prime minister would continue to serve his sentence once his health improved.
“My client is suffering from multiple diseases, and he should be allowed to get the treatment for all his ailments under a single roof,” Harris said.
Briefing the court about Sharif’s condition, his personal physician Dr Adnan Khan said Nawaz Sharif was “fighting for his life.”
A prosecutor for the National Accountability Bureau, the country’s anti-corruption watchdog that is pursuing corruption cases against Sharif, requested the court to grant bail “for a limited time period” only, and insisted that the ex-PM was receiving the best possible care in Pakistan. 
Since Sharif was taken to hospital on Monday, members of his Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN) party have variously claimed that his health was deteriorating and the government had delayed treatment.
Speaking to the media after the court verdict, PMLN Secretary General Ahsan Iqbal said Sharif required “advanced medical care” for multiple ailments. 
“This government has a clear bias against Nawaz Sharif and cannot be expected to grant him justice,” he said.
“Thankfully, today he [Sharif] is fine and talking normally,” Professor Dr. Fatima Khanum, part of a 10-member medical board constituted by the Punjab government to examine Sharif, told Arab News over the phone, “But he is diabetic, hypertensive and has a heart disease, which are some complications.”
Explaining why Sharif’s health had deteriorated after being moved to hospital, Khanum said he suffered angina pain while undergoing treatment and medicines administered for his heart caused his platelet count to fall under 30,000.
“When platelet count decreases it leads to bleeding in a patient,” the doctor said. “And that is what happened in his case. There were rashes and marks on his skin.”
Platelets are cells that help with the formation of a blood clot in a body. A normal count can range from 150,000 to 400,000.
For now, Khanum said, the medical board had discontinued heart medication: “We are trying to maintain a very delicate balance.”


Pakistan’s telecom regulator approaches Twitter after false Indian claims of 'civil war' in Karachi

Updated 22 October 2020

Pakistan’s telecom regulator approaches Twitter after false Indian claims of 'civil war' in Karachi

  • Leading media outlets in India used the social networking website to disseminate fabricated stories about clashes in Karachi
  • Twitter verified accounts were used to spread the fake news, making Pakistani authorities ask the social media giant to act against them

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) approached the Twitter management on Thursday, asking the social media giant not to allow users to spread fake information for propaganda purposes.
“In the wake of current smear campaign of spreading false and baseless information targeting Pakistan, its cities and institutions,” said an official handout, “PTA has stressed upon Twitter to effectively block handles involved in the campaign.”
The country released the statement after some Indian news networks falsely claimed that clashes had erupted between the Pakistan Army and Sindh Police in the country’s most densely populated city of Karachi.
The story was fabricated by some of the leading media outlets across the border, who claimed that a “civil war” was raging in Pakistan before disseminating the misleading story through social media platforms.
While Pakistani Twitter users mocked the Indian media, South Asia watchers were alarmed by the development.

 

 

Pakistani politicians also expressed their displeasure at the development, condemning the Indian media for its devious reporting.

 

 

In its official statement issued on Thursday, the PTA expressed its “disappointment” that a “number of accounts involved in propagation of untrue stories” were “Twitter verified.”
“However, they are still operating with immunity,” the statement added. “PTA has asked the platform to take immediate action against such accounts as per its guidelines and policies.”