A top Pakistani court on Saturday granted bail on medical and humanitarian grounds to jailed former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in the Al-Azizia steel mills corruption case, a day after he suffered a minor heart attack while undergoing treatment at a Lahore hospital.
The 69-year-old Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo was rushed to the Services Hospital in Lahore from the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) office late on Monday night after a massive drop in his platelet count.
The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Saturday evening granted the bail to Sharif till Tuesday on medical and humanitarian grounds after Sharif's younger brother Shehbaz Sharif approached the court in the morning with an application seeking the release of his elder brother and the three-time prime minister in the Al-Azizia steel mills case.
The court was informed that Mr Sharif suffered a minor heart attack on Friday night, and should be released without any delay.
The court on Friday heard Mr Sharif's case, but adjourned the hearing of his bail plea in the Al-Azizia steel mills case until October 29. It decided to take up the new application on Saturday due to Sharif's bad health.
The new plea was heard by a two-member bench comprising IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kiyani. Chief Justice Minallah asked if the government and the NAB opposed the bail or not.
The development came shortly after the NAB, in its response to the IHC, said that it had "no objections to bail being granted".
The court granted the interim bail to Mr Sharif until Tuesday when it would to take up the earlier application to suspend his sentence and release him on bail. It ordered that Sharif be released on production of two surety bonds worth Rs 20 million each.
Mr Sharif is also serving a seven-year imprisonment in the Al-Azizia corruption case. He was in Kot Lakhpat jail but early this month was sent to the custody of NAB which is probing the Sharif family in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills case.
The Lahore High Court on Friday granted him bail in Chaudhry Sugar Mills case. However, he could not be released as he was jailed in Al-Azizia steel mills case.
He was rushed to the hospital on Monday night after his platelets dropped to a dangerously low level. On Thursday evening, Mr Sharif's platelet count again dropped from 20,000 to 6,000. Dangerous internal bleeding can occur when the platelet count falls below 10,000 platelets per microliter, according to doctors.
The doctors told the court that Mr Sharif was suffering from diabetes, gout, and has blood pressure issues along with heart and liver diseases. Punjab Health Minister Yasmin Rashid said on Friday that Prime Minister Imran Khan has ordered to provide best medical treatment to Sharif.
Imran Khan has also issued directives to keep Maryam Nawaz, Sharif's daughter, with him at the same hospital after the federal government faced criticism for shifting her back to jail in a corruption case.