SC suggests inter-provincial medical board for Dr Asim

By Nasir Mahmood

ISLAMABAD: Former petroleum minister Dr Asim Hussain’s lawyer, Latif Khosa has contended in the Supreme Court that for a trial, an accused must be living. “They can only try the petitioner/ accused if he remains alive.” He wondered how the state could be “this irresponsible towards a man’s life”. A three-member bench, headed by Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, was hearing Dr Asim’s plea to remove his name from the exit control list (ECL) as well as a petition by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) requesting cancellation of his bail. Khosa said that the medical boards comprised senior doctors and were constituted on the court’s orders, adding that whatever transpired in Dr Asim’s case was no less than a nightmare for the petitioner. The Supreme Court directed Dr Asim Hussain’s counsel to consider forming an inter- provincial medical board to determine his client’s ‘need’ for having surgery abroad. Pakistan People’s Party Karachi President Dr Asim – out on bail in NAB references – has requested the court to allow him to travel out of the country for lumbar region surgery. Special prosecutor for NAB Nasir Mughal told the court that “Dr Hussain should not be given bail on medical ground.” Justice Manzoor Malik pointed out that NAB should have sped up Dr Hussain’s trial keeping in mind his condition. The hearing was adjourned until July 20. During the hearing, NAB prosecutor Nasir Mughal informed the court that till now 10 medical boards have been formed to determine Dr Asim’s health. Khosa wondered how the state can be so heartless when it comes to someone’s health. The bench issued notices to the relevant authorities over NAB’s petition demanding cancellation of Dr Asim’s bail and directed for consideration of forming a medical board with representation from all the provinces instead of just Sindh, as the provincial government has been handling everything related to him so far. He was released from the sub-jail at the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre in Karachi on March 31 this year after obtaining bail in all the cases lodged against him. He was initially arrested by the Rangers in August 2015 and then transferred into police custody.