SC disapproves medical certificates submitted by Dr Asim Hussain

The Supreme Court on Thursday, while hearing a petition seeking exclusion of PPP leader Dr Asim Hussain’s name from the exit control list (ECL), expressed its dissatisfaction over the medical certificates submitted before the apex court regarding Dr Hussain’s health.

Commenting on the matter, Justice Aijaz Afzal said, “Nine medical boards were formed to examine Dr Asim Hussain’s health and every board has suggested a different illness.”

On this, the counsel for Dr Hussain, Barrister Latif Khosa, said that the former minister was suffering from a spinal problem which was apparently incurable in Pakistan. He further argued that other suspects of the case have already been allowed to travel abroad.

The court sought a reply from the interior ministry regarding the case. “We want to see whether the law is being properly followed or not while putting a person’s name on the ECL,” the apex court observed.

PPP leader Dr Asim Hussain, a close aide of former president Asif Ali Zardari, had filed a petition in the apex court asking for the removal of his name from the ECL so that he may travel abroad for medical treatment.

The petition stated that Hussain was fighting “a number of health conditions” and highlighted the ‘urgency’ with which he needed medical care.

The former minister has reportedly been undergoing treatment for a cardiovascular ailment.

The petition, filed by Dr Hussain’s counsel, also pointed out that the PPP leader has already been granted bail by the Sindh High Court (SHC) and anti-terrorism courts.

During an earlier hearing in SHC, Dr Hussain’s counsel had told the bench that his client “may lose his life if he did not undergo a spinal surgery abroad”.

In March, the SHC had granted bail to the PPP leader in two corruption references filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

On the same day, an anti-terrorism court issued a release order for the former federal minister in a case relating to the alleged treatment of terrorists at Ziauddin Hospital, where the accused is the deputy managing director.

NAB had been pursuing Dr Hussain on charges that the former petroleum minister deprived the state exchequer of Rs462.5bn between 2010 and 2013 — Rs450bn through a fertiliser scam, Rs9.5bn through land fraud and Rs3bn through money laundering.

Dr Hussain was eventually released from prison on March 31 after 19 months in detention.

He had filed a request at the SHC for the removal of his name from the ECL. However, the plea was rejected on June 5.