March 26, 2019 / 9:53 AM / 3 months ago

Pakistan's former PM Nawaz Sharif gets bail on medical grounds

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistan’s Supreme Court agreed on Tuesday to release jailed former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on bail for six weeks to receive medical treatment but said he would not be allowed to leave the country.

Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who was temporarily released from prison, arrives to attend funeral services for his wife, Kulsoom, in Lahore, Pakistan September 14, 2018. REUTERS/Mohsin Raza/Files

Sharif is serving a seven-year sentence imposed last year for failing to disclose the source of income that allowed him to acquire the Al-Azizia Steel Mills in Saudi Arabia. He has appealed.

The sentence would be suspended for six weeks from the date of Sharif’s release, Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa said.

“In these six weeks he shall not be allowed to leave Pakistan,” he said, reading the order, and added that Sharif would be expected to surrender voluntarily at the end of the bail term.

Three-time premier Sharif, who was disqualified from holding political office for life, has been suffering from a heart condition and kidney problems and has been admitted to hospital. A previous bail appeal was rejected last month.

His daughter Maryam has accused Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf party of mistreating her father, a charge the government denies. The issue has been the subject of bitter wrangling for weeks.

The Supreme Court removed Sharif from office in July 2017 for not disclosing part of a salary drawn from his son’s company and he was later convicted in two separate cases of failing to disclose sources of income.

In one of those cases, regarding ownership of upmarket properties in London, the high court granted him bail last September, suspending a 10-year sentence until a final decision on his appeal against the conviction.

The appeal process in both cases is continuing.

Sharif has termed the charges against him politically motivated and accused the military and courts of working together to end his political career and destabilise his Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party.

Reporting by Syed Raza Khan; Editing by Clarence Fernandez

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