The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Wednesday accepted former president Asif Ali Zardari’s bail till July 28 in the New York apartment case.

A division bench comprising IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Aamer Farooq heard the plea. The court accepted the plea against surety bonds of Rs0.5 million till July 28 and issued a notice to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

Before the hearing, Zardari’s counsel Farooq H Naek had requested the court to allow the ambulance of the former president to enter the court’s premises on medical and security grounds.

A day earlier, the IHC had rejected a request to hear the pre-arrest bail plea in Zardari’s absence.

The counsel had pleaded that the former president couldn’t appear before the court due to health problems and prayed that the court grant him bail in the NAB inquiry in his absence.

He had contended that Zardari was under treatment at a private hospital in Karachi.

Responding to the argument, Justice Aamer Farooq had reminded the counsel that the presence of the applicant is necessary in pre-arrest bail cases.

After the hearing, the former president told media that PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif’s domicile was “better” than his, an assertion that he was being treated unfairly as he belonged to a smaller province.

Zardari was asked to give his opinion on whether the laws were different for him and the PML-N leader, and he simply said: “Mian Sahab’s domicile is better than mine”.

He was referring to underlying resentment among Pakistan’s smaller ethno-linguistic groups against the dominant Punjabi ethnic group. Zardari had been told to show up in person for the hearing even though his counsel had pleaded that he not be required to do so due to his ill health. 

When asked whether he would advise Nawaz to return to Pakistan, the PPP stalwart said he would not give anyone any advice, but if someone wants to, they can.


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