Pakistan's top court grants bail to former PM Nawaz Sharif

Sharif is currently serving a 7-year term in a corruption case stemming from the 2016 Panama Papers scandal.

    In February, the Islamabad High Court rejected Sharif's petition seeking bail on medical grounds for lack of merit [File: K.M. Chaudary/AP]
    In February, the Islamabad High Court rejected Sharif's petition seeking bail on medical grounds for lack of merit [File: K.M. Chaudary/AP]

    The Supreme Court of Pakistan agreed on Tuesday to release former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on bail for six weeks to receive medical treatment but said he would not be allowed to leave the country.

    Sharif is serving a seven-year sentence imposed last year for failing to disclose the source of income that allowed him to acquire the Al-Azizia Steel Mills in Saudi Arabia.

    The three-time former prime minister, 69, has been suffering from a heart condition and kidney problems and has been admitted to hospital. A previous bail application was rejected last month.

    The decision was then challenged in the Supreme Court.

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    This won't be the first time Sharif has received medical attention. Since his December conviction, he has been released on bail on several occasions for treatment in the eastern city of Lahore.

    Sharif and his children - two sons and a daughter - were charged with three counts of corruption during his two periods in power in the 1990s.

    Sharif served as prime minister in 1990-1992, 1997-1999, and 2013-2017; he has been unable to complete a single five-year term.

    His two previous governments were dismissed over corruption charges and through a military coup in 1992 and 1999, respectively.

    His younger brother and three-time chief minister of Punjab - the country's most populous province - Shehbaz Sharif also stands trial for a housing scam.

    Shehbaz's son and the opposition leader in Punjab Assembly, Hamza Shehbaz, is also facing inquiries in connection with multiple corruption cases.

    SOURCE: News agencies