Former Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari gets bail on medical grounds

His bail plea was filed over a month after former premier Nawaz Sharif was given a similar relief.

Islamabad: Pakistan's ailing former president Asif Ali Zardari was on Wednesday granted bail on medical grounds by a court here in two corruption cases, making him the second jailed senior politician in over a month to secure similar relief.

Zardari, 64, who was arrested in June, approached the court on December 3 seeking bail on medical grounds in two corruption cases pertaining to fake accounts. His bail plea was filed over a month after former premier Nawaz Sharif was given a similar relief.

A two-judge bench of the Islamabad High Court also directed Zardari, leader of the Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP), to submit surety bonds worth Rs 10 million each in the two cases, The Express Tribune reported.

The court had on December 4 constituted a medical board to examine Zardari's health condition and directed it to submit its report. According to Geo TV, Zardari, in his bail plea, had claimed that he was suffering from a heart condition and diabetes.

Last month, Zardari was transferred from Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi to the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences in Islamabad after his health deteriorated, the report said.

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 Express Tribune reported.

The petitioner's condition makes it evident that his continued incarceration would prove detrimental to his life, it said. Addressing the media outside the court, Zardari's son and PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto hailed the verdict and thanked the judiciary for the relief.

He said the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government and the anti-graft watchdog were mistaken if they think they could pressurise the PPP. I want them to know that the poor people of the country prayed for Zardari's release, Bilawal said.

On November 19, Sharif, 69, left for London for medical treatment for multiple diseases after the Lahore High Court allowed him to travel abroad for four weeks. Sharif, who was granted bail on October 25, is serving a seven-year imprisonment in Lahore's Kot Lakhpat jail in Al-Azizia case.

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