Pak court suspends Sharif's sentence for 8 weeks

Supporters of Pakistan's former prime minister Nawaz Sharif shout anti-government slogans outside a hospital, where Nawaz was admitted after his condition deteriorated, in Lahore on October 29, 2019. ( AFP)

A Pakistani court on Tuesday suspended the sentence of ailing former premier Nawaz Sharif for eight weeks in a corruption case, paving way for his release on bail as his condition deteriorated after a drastic drop in his blood platelet count.

Sharif, 69, was admitted to the Services Hospital on Monday night from Pakistan's anti-graft body's custody after his platelets dropped to a critical low level of 2,000.

Sharif was sentenced to seven years in jail in December last year in the Al Azizia case. He was granted interim bail on Saturday by the Islamabad High Court’s (IHC) on medical grounds.

As the interim bill expired on Tuesday, a two-member bench of the IHC comprising Justice Aamir Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kiyani heard the case. Fresh reports on Sharif's health were submitted in the court.

Sharif’s lawyer and personal doctor told the court that his condition was not good due to erratic platelets count.

According to the doctors treating Sharif, he is suffering from an autoimmune blood disorder requiring immediate medical attention.

After hearing the arguments, the court reserved the judgment for a short time which it announced later on.

The court ordered to give eight-week bail to Sharif by suspending his sentence. It also said that he should approach the government of Punjab for any extension in the bail.

The court said that two surety bonds of Rs2 million each should to be submitted to the court to secure Sharif's release.

Sharif was in Kot Lakhpat jail but early this month was sent to the custody of National Accountability Bureau (NAB) which is probing the Sharif family in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills case.

Sharif last week procured bail on medical grounds in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills case from the Lahore High Court.

During the hearing on Tuesday, the IHC asked doctors, who are part of the medical board overseeing Sharif's treatment, if it was possible for him to recover without staying in the hospital. The doctors responded in the negative and said that the PML-N supremo required medical supervision at all times, the Dawn reported.

The board informed the court that Sharif had been given 80 injections in order to bring his platelet count - which was reported to have dropped to dangerous levels - to normal.

When asked if Sharif had suffered a heart attack during his medical treatment, the doctors responded in the affirmative.

Sharif's personal physician Dr Adnan Khan, who had arrived in court before the hearing started, said that so far, the board was not able to figure out the reason behind the destruction of the platelets in the former premier's body.

Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, who appeared before court today, assured the bench that the provincial government was providing the best medical care to the former premier. He told the bench that the provincial government was working to bring forth prison reforms.

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