SC orders provision of medical treatment to Dr Asim Hussain on his choice


KARACHI: The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Friday ordered Rangers officials to ensure provision of best possible medical treatment and a doctor of his choice to arrested former federal minister Dr Asim Hussain.

A two-judge bench of the apex court headed by Justice Sarmad Jalal Usmani was hearing a plea by the former petroleum minister’s family members against his discharge and transfer from the hospital.

A lawyer for Dr Asim Hussain informed the court that his client had been taken to the hospital after he complained of cardiac pain. He claimed that Dr Asim had not fully recovered before he was discharged from the hospital because a doctor for the Rangers said he had recovered.

Dr Asim should be admitted to the hospital again, argued the petitioner’s lawyer.

Justice Sarmad Jalal Usmani asked Dr Asim’s lawyer Abid Zubairi if he was sure that Dr Asim would remain safe in the hospital. The judge said that he was aware of the security situation in Karachi. He remarked that witnesses in the Wali Babar and Sabeen Mahmud murder cases have been gunned down and that the court does not wish that a similar unfortunate incident happens to Dr Asim Hussain.

Justice Dost Mohammad Khosa said that the Sindh High Court had expressed the fear of Dr Asim’s life being in danger. He said that the court needs to strike a balance between the former minister’s medical treatment and his safety.

He said that taking Dr Asim out of Rangers’ custody would expose his life to danger.

The court ordered Rangers to provide Dr Asim with a doctor of his choice. The two-judge bench also issued notices to the Interior Ministry, Rangers and other parties in the case against the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader’s discharge from the hospital.

The hearing was subsequently adjourned to October 7.

Meanwhile the Rangers on Friday rejected accusations made in a contempt of court notice submitted to the Sindh High Court (SHC) by PPP leader Dr Asim’s counsel last week.

Dr Asim’s senior counsel Abid S. Zuberi submitted the notice on behalf of Dr Zareen Hussain saying the Rangers had not complied with the SHC’s earlier directive ordering the paramilitary force to provide medical care to Dr Asim.

The petitioner’s counsel maintained that medication and medical checkups and facilities had not been provided to the former federal petroleum minister under Rangers care as per the SHC’s order.

Rangers Law Officer Colonel Amjad categorically denied the petitioner’s claims that the paramilitary force had committed contempt of court.

In a statement submitted to Justice Sajjad Ali Shah heading the SHC division bench, he said the allegations were baseless and that all medication and facilities had been provided to Dr Asim while he was in Rangers custody.

He further maintained that the Rangers own medical staff had been providing medical care to Dr Asim, and that the PPP leader and Zardari aide was not afflicted with a life-threatening illness.

He said Asim suffered from blood pressure problems, and that the Rangers possessed sufficient medical facilities to care for his health problems.

Justice Sajjad adjourned the hearing until Oct 13 and ordered the petitioner’s counsel to submit a rejoinder to the Rangers reply by this date.

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