ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court of Pakistan yesterday directed Rangers to provide former federal minister Dr Asim Hussain with services of the best medical practitioners of his choice.

Zareen Hussain, the wife of Dr Asim, Thursday filed an appeal in the Supreme Court, praying that she wanted her husband shifted to the National Institute of Cardiovascular Disease NICVD. The court seemed to be more concerned about the security of Dr Asim than his health and said that he would be safer into the Rangers’ custody.

“Dr Asim may be kept where he could be safer,” remarked Justice Dost Muhammad Khan, a member of the two-judge bench of the Supreme Court. “No place is safer than Rangers Headquarters, so he should have better security there as well as the best medical treatment,” he added. The apex court, hearing the appeal, also issued notices to the federation and the Pakistan Rangers.

Dr Asim was arrested on the charges of corruption, abuse of powers and facilitation of terrorists. An anti-terrorism court had granted 90-day physical remand of the former PPP minister to the paramilitary force.

He was the minister for petroleum, gas and natural resources in the PPP government and is considered a very close friend of PPP co-chairman and former President Asif Ali Zardari.

Abid Zuberi advocate, representing the ex-minister’s wife, told the bench his client was brought to National Institute of Cardiovascular Disease (NICVD) to get medical treatment, but he was discharged by Rangers doctors before his complete recovery.

The Rangers’ doctors claimed Dr Asim Hussain was in good health, but no written medical report was submitted by the Rangers in this regard, he contended.

The lawyer said Dr Hussain was still in poor health, so he should be re-admitted to the NICVD.

Justice Sarmad Jalal Osmany, who was heading the bench, asked the lawyer if he thought his client would be secure in the hospital. The judge told the lawyer that he must be aware about the law and order situation in Karachi.

For the last many years, extortion, killing, mobile and purse snatching and other crimes were common in Karachi, the economic hub of Pakistan, but due to the Rangers’ operation, the security situation has improved and now the Karachiites feel secure.

“What happened to the witnesses in Karachi? What happened to the witnesses of Wali Babar, Parveen Rehman and Sabeen Mehmood? They all were killed,” Justice Osmany remarked. He said they had instructed the Rangers to provide services of the best doctors of his choice.

Justice Dost said there would be better medical facilities in the Rangers Headquarters as well. Before the conclusion of the case, the judge remarked in a lighter vein, “Dr Asim is facing danger both ways.” The hearing was adjourned until October 7.