ISLAMABAD - The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Wednesday directed the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) to form a medical board to ascertain former president Asif Ali Zardari’s health condition.

A division bench of IHC comprising Chief Justice of IHC Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Aamer Farooq conducted hearing of two separate petitions of Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur seeking bail on medical grounds in the cases filed against them by the NAB.

The IHC also sought reply from National Accountability Bureau (NAB) till December 11 on bail petitions of Asif Ali Zardari and Faryal Talpur.

During hearing, the chief justice asked Zardari’s counsel Farouk H Naek that whether any medical board had been constituted previously. At this, the lawyer pleaded that Punjab government had previously formed a medical board to examine health of Asif Zardari.

The chief justice remarked that court would direct head of Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) to form a medical board .

Farouk H Naek also requested the bench to make personal doctor of Asif Zardari as part of this medical board .

The court directed to submit a new medical report by December 11 and also include his personal doctor in the medical board . Later, the court deferred proceedings in this matter.

During the hearing, the court asked about Zardari’s latest medical report from his lawyer Farooq H Naek. He replied, “Zardari has cardiovascular disease and the Punjab government had formed a medical board previously.”

The former president is under-arrest on charges of money laundering and presently undergoing treatment at the PIMS Islamabad. The NAB had arrested him after cancellation of his pre-arrest bail by the IHC in fake bank accounts case on June 10.

In his petition, filed through his counsel Farooq H Naek Advocate, Zardari adopted that he was a chronic patient suffering from multiple ailments and he was also a heart patient having three stents in his heart. Zardari added that he was also suffering from diabetes which meant that he had to constantly monitor his blood sugar levels.

The former president maintained in his petition that he was seriously ill and his condition was unstable which might deteriorate further unless bail was granted.

Zardari argued that right of life was a fundamental right of every person under Article 9 of the Constitution including the petitioner and he should not be deprived of it by denial of bail in this state of health.

Therefore, he prayed to the court that upon acceptance of this petition, the petitioner might graciously be granted bail after arrest in reference No 2 of 2019 pending before the accountability court Islamabad on consideration of medical grounds.

The PPP co-chairperson’s medical reports were also submitted along with the petition to the IHC so that bail might be granted.

The high court also admitted for hearing a bail petition filed by Zardari’s sister Faryal Talpur. In her appeal, Talpur maintained that she was the mother of a differently-abled child. In order to care for her child, she asked the court to grant bail until completion of the trial.

Zardari, Talpur and other accused are facing charges of corruption through fake bank accounts and embezzlement in the financial facility for Park Lane Private Limited and Parthenon (Pvt) Limited. The NAB had alleged that the national exchequer suffered a loss of Rs3.77 billion because of the irregularities.