Former Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari (centre) arrives for his bail appeal at Islamabad High Court. File photo/AFP
A Pakistani court ordered on Wednesday that ailing former President Asif Ali Zardari be released on bail on medical grounds, so that he can seek medical treatment at a hospital of his choice in the country.
The development came about five months after Zardari, the widower of the country's assassinated former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, was arrested by Pakistan's anti-graft body in a multi-million dollar money laundering case.
Shortly after the court order, Zardari's son Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, who heads the key opposition Pakistan People's Party, claimed that the days of the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan were numbered. He told reporters that once he recovers, his father will launch a campaign to oust Khan's government.
Former President Zardari, a lawmaker in the lower house of Parliament, has been accused of having dozens of bogus bank accounts, a charge he denies, saying he was being politically victimized by Khan's government. Since coming to power, Khan has pledged that his government would make good on his election campaign promise to fight corruption on all fronts.
Zardari, who was arrested in June, was expected to to be freed later on Wednesday.
Pakistan's anti-graft body has arrested several politicians and businessmen on corruption charges since Khan took office last year after winning a narrow majority in parliamentary elections.
'Time for nation to stop glorifying money launderers who have damaged our nation & impoverished our people and now seeking refuge behind 'democracy.'
Naeem ul Haque, special assistant to the Pakistan Prime Minister, on Saturday posted a picture of the Master Blaster and captioned it: "PM Imran Khan 1969".
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government vowed to collect more taxes and make cuts in spending in a closely watched budget presented to parliament Tuesday, weeks after reaching a deal with the IMF for a $6 billion bailout.
Instead, the court found Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh guilty of the lesser charge of kidnapping and sentenced him to seven years in prison. One of his lawyers, Khwaja Naveed, said he could go free unless the government chooses to challenge the court decision.
About half the country's roughly 110 million people are currently under quarantine — including millions in deep poverty, left jobless by tough restrictions on movement.
The first phase testing would take around three months, CSIRO's director of health Rob Grenfell told Reuters, adding that any resulting vaccine would not be available to the public before late next year.