KARACHI: An accountability court on Saturday allowed former federal minister for petroleum and Pakistan Peoples Party leader, Dr Asim Hussain, to travel abroad for medical treatment.
Dr Asim, who is a close aide of former president Asif Ali Zardari, is facing two corruption references in the accountability court and a criminal case in an antiterrorism court.
On Saturday, Dr Asim moved an application through his counsel Amir Raza Naqvi seeking the court’s permission to travel abroad for a follow-up medical check-up which was due after he underwent surgery of spinal cord abroad a few months ago.
The lawyer said that his client needed to travel to Dubai or New York as per availability of his doctor in either country.
Granting the permission, the accountability court-IV judge Fareed Anwer Qazi allowed Dr Asim to embark on his foreign visit between June 12 and July 10. However, hearing of the case was fixed on June 11, which his co-accused would attend.
Dr Asim and the co-accused are facing two references about alleged corruption of over Rs460 billion through fraudulent allotment of land for expansion of his hospital and money laundering.
He is also accused of fraudulently awarding contracts for five gas fields to Jamshoro Joint Venture Limited which allegedly caused a loss of Rs17.338bn to national exchequer.
Dr Asim is further accused of misusing his authority to get plots allotted fraudulently and encroaching upon state land for expansion of Dr Ziauddin Hospital/Trust, illegal gains, kickbacks and money laundering.
The former minister is also blamed for receiving commissions from fertiliser cartel for an “exploitative price hike”. Another charge is related to “black marketing and fraud with public” in the name of a charity hospital.
The reference alleged that the former minister had deprived the state of Rs462.5bn from 2010 to 2013 — Rs450bn through the fertiliser scam, Rs9.5bn through land fraud and Rs3bn through money laundering.
The PPP leader is also facing a criminal case pertaining to alleged harbouring and sheltering of terrorists and gangsters at his chain of private hospitals in Karachi.
He was arrested by Rangers on Aug 26, 2015 in his office. His arrest was described as the first major action against PPP leaders during anti-graft campaign against politicians.
Published in Dawn, June 10th, 2018