October 25, 2019 / 10:55 AM / 3 months ago

Pakistani court grants bail to ailing former PM Sharif

LAHORE, Pakistan (Reuters) - A Pakistani court granted bail on Friday to jailed former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on medical grounds, a lawyer for Sharif said.

FILE PHOTO: Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who was temporarily released from prison, arrives to attend funeral services for his wife, Kulsoom, in Lahore, Pakistan September 14, 2018. REUTERS/Mohsin Raza/File Photo

Sharif, 69, a three-time prime minister, is serving a seven-year prison sentence after a conviction for corruption last year. He denied the charges, which he said were politically motivated.

He was taken from his prison cell to hospital in the city of Lahore on Monday and his party raised concern about his health.

“We applied for bail on the grounds that his health conditions were deteriorating and that he needs better treatment,” his lawyer, Azam Nazir Tarar, told Reuters after the Friday ruling in Lahore.

“The court accepted our request and granted bail.”

The health minister for the province of Punjab, Yasmin Rashid, said on Friday Sharif was believed to be suffering from an immune system disorder and his condition was stable. The government had said this week Sharif was suffering from a low blood platelet level, perhaps from taking certain medication.

Sharif’s party, the main opposition Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), has accused authorities of victimizing Sharif and his family.

The government denies that the legal action against Sharif and other members of his family, including elder daughter Maryam Nawaz, who is also in detention for suspected graft, is politically motivated.

Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Thursday his sincere prayers were with Sharif and he had directed that he should receive the best healthcare.

It was not clear if Sharif would be moved to another hospital or allowed to go abroad for treatment, as his lawyer had requested.

Additional reporting by Asif Shahzad in Islamabad; Editing by Robert Birsel and Frances Kerry

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