Legal hurdle prevents Dr Asim Hussain’s release

KARACHI: A legal glitch is creating hurdles in the release of former petroleum minister and Pakistan People’s Party leader Dr Asim Hussain, 19 months after the Sindh High Court (SHC) granted him bail.

The SHC on Thursday rejected an application filed by Dr Asim Hussain seeking an amendment in the court’s verdict, which asks him to surrender his passports.

“Not even a single comma from the decision can be changed,” the high court said while announcing its decision regarding Dr Asim’s application.

Dr Asim has stated in his application that he has submitted both his Canadian and Pakistani passports to the Anti-Terrorism Court, in a case which accuse him of facilitating and providing medical treatment to terrorists.

The SHC stated that it can not go back on its decision and the matter will be decided by the Chief Justice.

The Sindh High Court approved on Wednesday the bail plea of Dr Asim Hussain, against surety bonds of Rs500,000, in two corruption references filed against him by the National Accountability Bureau.

The SHC’s referee judge approved the bail on medical grounds. Dr Asim is currently undergoing treatment at the National Institute of Cardiovascular diseases.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan on Wednesday alleged that the Prime Minister had struck a deal with the PPP, after which “corrupt politicians had returned to Pakistan, and others had been given bail. Imran was referring to model Ayyan Ali, former Information Minister Sindh Sharjeel Memon and former Petroleum Minister Dr Asim, all of whom have been given bails despite corruption charges of hefty amounts on them.

Dr Asim, a close aide of former president and PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari, faces several charges including corruption references filed by NAB of Rs 479 billion. He is also alleged to have provided treatment and protection to terrorists at a hospital owned by him.

According to NAB, Dr Asim created artificial shortage of gas during his tenure as a result urea fertilizer prices skyrocketed and touched Rs1830 from just Rs850.

Due to this, the government provided a subsidy on urea import which caused Rs450 billion loss to national exchequer from 2012 to 2013.

Dr Asim also acquired land illegally for establishment of Ziauddin Hospital, according to the NAB document present in court in May last year.

In a video clip in June 2016 he levelled serious allegations against PPP’s Owais Muzaffar alias Tappi, accusing him of being involved in corruption. However, he maintains he was tortured to extract confessional statement.

Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) co-chairman and former president of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari had fiercely defended his close aide.

In an interview with a private TV channel, Zardari had said Dr Asim was his childhood friend and family doctor and incapable of committing corruption and providing medical help to terrorists.

Dismissing allegations of corruption on Dr Asim, he said the former served as a state minister and likened him to an ‘innocent rabbit’ who is afraid of his own shadow. The PPP leader, like in the past, had vowed to defend his friend on all platforms. He also visited Dr Asim in January this year at the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases to inquire about his health.

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