ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered removal of former PPP Senator Dr Asim Hussain’s name from the Exit Control List (ECL) and allowed him to travel abroad for medical treatment for one month.

The bench directed Ministry of Interior, NAB, FIA and Immigration Department to immediately remove Dr Asim’s name from the ECL. It, however, maintained that the authorities can replace his name on ECL upon his arrival after the surgery.

A three-judge bench, headed by Justice Dost Muhammad Khan, heard the appeals of NAB and Dr Asim Hussain.

Dr Asim, former minister for petroleum and close friend of former president Asif Ali Zardari, had filed an appeal before the apex court to direct the federal government to remove his name from Exit Control List (ECL), while NAB had challenged the Sindh High Court order to grant him bail.

The SHC in March this year had granted bail to Dr Asim on medical grounds in the two cases that involved alleged corruption of Rs462 billion.

The court ordered to return passport to Dr Asim and if it requires renewal then it should be done accordingly.

Earlier, Sardar Latif Khosa, appearing on behalf of the PPP leader, said his client would go abroad for the medical treatment and shall come back in a month time. “We expect the understanding given at the bar will be honoured and the court confidence shall not be shattered,” Justice Dost said.

The court ordered Dr Asim’s counsel to deposit Rs6 million as surety to the satisfaction of the trial court.

Khosa informed the bench that already they had provided Defence Saving Certificate equal to the amount Rs6 million.

He said Rs4.5 million surety is deposited to NAB and Rs2 million to the Anti-Terrorism Court, which had permitted him to go abroad.

The bench said the trial in the NAB court would remain in progress during the absence Dr Asim and he would be represented by a counsel before the court. The court dismissed the NAB petition for bail cancellation of Dr Asim.

Latif Khosa earlier argued that his client is suffering from the disease, whose treatment is not available in the country and can prove worst for his deteriorating health. He said the renowned medical experts – neurosurgeon, cardiologist and the physicians were in the medical board, which had examined his client.

The court noted that the NAB could not explain the reasons for stopping Dr Asim from going abroad. The court said that constitution and religion called for given full protection to human life.

“In the absence of any material we are unable to form any opinion contrary to the view of the medical board. Various medical boards comprising the doctors from Agha, Jinnah Hospital, Dow Medical College and Liaquat Memorial had advised Dr Asim to get treatment from abroad,” it added.

The court said the petitioner is willing to provide security when he will come back after getting the treatment in one month time started from the date of his departure.

Dr Asim was booked on the complaint of Rangers for allegedly treating and harbouring suspected terrorists at the North Nazimabad and Clifton branches of his hospital at the behest of some MQM and PPP leaders.

Corruption references had also been filed against the former minister by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for allegedly causing massive losses to the national exchequer through corrupt practices.

During the hearing, the court also noted that an accused [Musharraf] went abroad but did not come back to country.