Dr Asim Hussain permitted to fly abroad by ATC, awaits SHC’s green signal

An Anti-Terrorism Court on Saturday gave the PPP’s Dr Asim Hussain, who is currently under trial for multi-billion rupee graft and corruption cases, permission to leave the country for medical treatment after the defendant filed a petition in court requesting the same.

However, the PPP stalwart cannot yet leave the country as an identical petition filed by him to the Sindh High Court is still awaiting a reply.

The SHC is expected to take action on the petition in the next few days, which will determine if Dr Hussain’s name will be removed from the Exit Control List or not.

Hussain’s petition said a medical board had recommended that he undergo spinal surgery abroad. The petition will be taken up by the SHC in a few day’s time, Hussain’s counsel said.

The close aide of former president Asif Ali Zardari was released from a sub-jail set up for him at the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre on March 31, after spending a little over 19 months in detention.

He was granted bail in two corruption references filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for allegedly causing huge losses to the national exchequer through corrupt practices.

Dr Hussain, who was serving as chairman of the Sindh Higher Education Commission, was picked up by Rangers personnel on Aug 26, 2015 for his alleged involvement in offences falling within the ambit of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997.

He remained in Rangers’ preventive detention for 90 days before being handed over to police in a case registered against him and others for allegedly treating and harbouring suspected terrorists, political militants and gangsters at his hospital as asked by Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leader and now Karachi mayor Waseem Akhtar, lawmaker Rauf Siddiqui, Saleem Shehzad; Pak Sarzameen Party president Anis Kaimkhani; PPP’s Abdul Qadir Patel, and Pasban Pakistan’s Usman Moazzam.

Later, NAB obtained his custody for interrogation and investigation into his alleged involvement in corruption. One of the two corruption cases pertained to causing a loss of Rs462.5 billion to the exchequer by allegedly misusing his powers, while the other related to the award of gas processing contracts for five fields in lower Sindh without conducting an open auction, incurring a loss of Rs17.34bn to the national exchequer.

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