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Plea for shifting Dr Asim to hospital rejected, medical tests ordered

Plea for shifting Dr Asim to hospital rejected, medical tests ordered

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Thursday rejected the plea of Dr Asim Hussain’s wife for shifting her interned husband to a private hospital for medical treatment, but directed the Rangers authorities to get his medical tests conducted in the presence of his wife and daughter.

With these directions, a two-judge bench headed by Justice Sajjad Ali Shah disposed of a petition of Dr Asim’s wife, Dr Zarina Hussain, for shifting him to a hospital for treatment.

The petitioner had initially filed an application before Chief Justice Faisal Arab requesting the provision of medical facilities for Dr Asim — a former petroleum minister and close aide to former president Asif Ali Zardari. He is presently working as chairman of the Sindh Higher Education Commission.

The chief justice converted the application into a petition which was sent up for hearing to the division bench headed by Justice Shah.

According to Dr Zarina, Dr Asim is suffering from serious ailments such as diabetes and hypertension and needed medical attention, so he should be admitted to a hospital.

On Thursday, the law officer of the paramilitary force told the judges that Dr Asim was being provided with all the necessary medical care in custody.

He said that a specialist doctor and two nurses were available round the clock and Dr Asim was not suffering from any ailment that required his hospitalisation.

“Dr Asim is physically fit,” the Rangers law officer said, adding that his arrest from his office was ample proof of his being fit.

He told the judges that the detainee was being interrogated for severe offences and requested the court to dismiss the plea.

After hearing arguments, the court disposed of the petition, ruling that Dr Asim could not be shifted to the hospital.

However, the court directed the Rangers to ensure every medical facility to the suspect.

The court also asked Dr Zarina Hussain to file a separate petition if she wanted to challenge her husband’s arrest.

Earlier, the court had thrown out a petition challenging Dr Asim’s arrest.

Dr Asim’s arrest came in what has been described as the first major action against the Pakistan People’s Party leadership during the ongoing Karachi operation.

On August 26, over 12 personnel in plain clothes belonging to the Federal Investigation Agency and an intelligence outfit arrived at the HEC office and the man leading them introduced himself to Dr Asim and asked him to accompany them. Dr Asim was then taken to an undisclosed location for questioning.

The following day, he was produced before an antiterrorism court that allowed the Rangers to keep him in custody for 90 days.

Published in Dawn, September 4th, 2015

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