The Supreme Court will announce a verdict on former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s bail plea on medical grounds on March 26. During hearing of the petition on Tuesday, the apex court issued a notice to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) directing it to ensure that all relevant documents are in place at the next hearing fixed for March 26.Nawaz Sharif’s counsel, Khawaja Haris, who had moved the apex court for early hearing of the application, presented his arguments before a three-judge bench led by Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa. He contended that his client had already filed a petition in the IHC against the judgement given by an accountability court and shared details and findings of the medical boards constituted by the government that had examined Sharif. The chief justice, while citing Nawaz Sharif’s medical reports, observed that the former prime minister was suffering from a kidney stone, hepatitis, diabetes, heart problems and high blood pressure. He said the reports are being reviewed to ascertain how long the former prime minister has been suffering from the ailments.Five of Nawaz’s medical reports were presented before the bench, to which the chief justice remarked that the court would need to read all of the former prime minister’s medical reports. “We are aware that Nawaz’s treatment was conducted in London,” Chief Justice Khosa observed, when told by Khawaja Haris that the former prime minister’s doctor David Lawrence is based in London. The chief justice further remarked that the reports from London were not provided to the doctors in Pakistan, and that the court will examine the reports of tests conducted at PIMS in Islamabad. “Did Nawaz Sharif face these [medical issues] earlier as well? If Nawaz Sharif’s condition deteriorated in prison, then the situation will be different,” the top judge stated, and pointed out that despite the ailments, Nawaz Sharif had been participating in elections, rallies and conventions during the 2018 campaign, in addition to his numerous court appearances.Chief Justice Khosa also inquired about a precedent where a convict had travelled abroad for treatment after getting bail. “Obviously, Nawaz has heart ailment which cannot be treated in jail. The angiography cannot be performed in a prison,” he observed. The Islamabad High Court on February 25 had dismissed Nawaz’s petition seeking bail and suspension of his seven-year sentence in the Al-Azizia reference on medical grounds.The former prime minister is imprisoned at Kot Lakhpat jail since December 2018 following his conviction in a corruption reference in line with the Supreme Court’s July 2017 verdict. Meanwhile, a joint investigation team (JIT) formed to probe the 2014 Model Town tragedy will record the statement of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif at the Kot Lakhpat jail on Wednesday (today).The Punjab home department has allowed the JIT to record Nawaz Sharif’s statement at the prison and has also issued a notification in this regard. On Monday, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President and former chief minister Shehbaz Sharif had appeared before the JIT. The investigation team is headed by Inspector General (IG) Motorways AD Khawaja, and comprises Lt Colonel Attique-uz-Zaman from the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Lt Colonel Irfan Mirza from the Military Intelligence (MI). Ahmed Kamal, deputy director general of Intelligence Bureau (IB), and Qamar Raza, deputy inspector general (DIG) Police Headquarters Gilgit-Baltistan, are also part of the JIT. At least 14 people were killed and 100 others injured in police action against Pakistan Awami Tehreek workers in Lahore on June 17, 2014.Published in Daily Times, March 20th 2019.