Nawaz may go abroad soon

November 09, 2019

ISLAMABAD/LAHORE      -   The federal government has apparently decided to allow ailing Nawaz Sharif to go abroad for treatment and the interior ministry may remove his name from the no-fly list soon. The three-time former prime minister and top-most leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) is facing multiple medical problems and his condition is not treatable, his doctors say. Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Political Affairs Naeemul Haq in a media talk on Friday said that the government had no objection if Sharif wanted to travel abroad for his treatment. He however added that “it’s for the court to decide whether to give Nawaz Sharif one-time or two-time permission” to go abroad for treatment.The Ministry of Interior officially confirmed on Friday that it had received an application from PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif for removal of his elder brother Nawaz Sharif’s name from the Exit Control List (ECL). A final recommendation on this would be made to the cabinet after examining all the facts and consulting all the stakeholders [NAB and courts], it added.

Earlier, Interior Minister Ijaz Shah had hinted at allowing the former prime minister to leave the country saying that he could be permitted to go abroad if “it was the only available option”. The personal physician of Nawaz, Dr Adnan Khan said that the ex-PM was critically ill. “Former PM #NawazSharif is critically unwell, having unstable Platelet count on maximal therapy; treatment response being suboptimal. The unexplained cause & uncertain diagnosis complicates the overall clinical scenario requiring advanced investigations & specialized care,” he tweeted. All the prominent members of the Sharif family are facing multiple corruption cases while two of its key political faces, Nawaz and his daughter Maryam Nawaz, had already been convicted for corruption.

After the former ruling family in recent days received back to back concessions from the courts, there were speculations that the establishment might have struck an underhand deal with them due to the political pressure, which has intensified because of the JUI-F sit-in. Even Advisor to PM on Information, Firdous Ashiq Awan dropped this suggestion in a press conference, which earned her a contempt of court notice. Prime Minister Imran Khan had repeatedly said in his recent comments that he would never give any “NRO” like deal to the opposition. The National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) was struck between then President Pervez Musharraf and opposition parties under which the corruption cases against their leadership were rolled back.

After Naemul Haq’s Friday statement, some political analysts believed that the PTI leadership and government also appears to have been made to fall in line finally. The government however continues denying the charges and claims that the former PM was being allowed to travel abroad only on humanitarian grounds. Nawaz’s daughter Maryam Nawaz said that his father must go wherever in the world his treatment was possible.Speaking after her appearance in a court in Chaudhry Sugar Mills corruption case, she said, “I obviously can’t travel immediately because the (Lahore High ) Court has (held) my passport.”

It was very difficult for her to stay behind and not accompany his ailing father in his travel abroad for treatment, she said. “It will become very difficult for me because I worry [about him] a lot,” she added. About Nawaz Sharif’s health, Maryam said he was doing better but his life was still in danger. She added that all treatments available in the country for increasing platelet count had been used but to no avail. The cause of the fall in his platelets count too could not be diagnosed, she said.

Asked if she would attend the JUI-F protest sit-in, Maryam said that one could pursue politics during all their life but “you we can’t get your parents back”. Naeem said the government had examined former PM’s medical reports. It was the right of every citizen to get himself treated from where he deemed fit, he added. The Special Assistant to PM said that it was up to the courts to decide that for how many times and for how long the PML-N leader should be allowed to seek medical treatment abroad. The interior ministry in its statement said that the request for removing Nawaz’s name from ECL had been forwarded to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for its input on the matter. Also, the health reports of Nawaz Sharif received from Sharif Medical City, Lahore had been forwarded to “Standing Medical Board” for their input and review, it added. “The ministry has taken all necessary actions keeping in view the  urgency of the matter as pleaded by Mian Shahbaz Sharif in his request.”

The ministry said would make its recommendations to the cabinet in light of the facts and recommendations of all the stakeholders.The interior ministry had placed the name of the former PM and his daughter, Maryam Nawaz, on the ECL in the light of a decision taken by Prime Minister Imran Khan’s cabinet in August 2018, on NAB’s recommendation  At that time both the PML-N leaders were serving jail terms following their conviction on July 6 by an accountability court in Avenfield corruption reference. Interestingly, it was PML-N’s government which had framed rules making the federal cabinet the final authority to list or delist anybody on the ECL to prevent the misuse of this power by the law enforcement agencies.


Sugar Mills case hearing

An accountability court on Friday granted one-time exemption from personal appearance to Nawaz Sharif while his daughter Maryam Nawaz appeared in Chaudhry Sugar Mills (CSM) case. In presence of the PML-N vice president, her cousin Yousaf Abbas was also produced on expiry of his judicial remand before Accountability Court Judge Ameer Muhammad Khan. At the outset of the proceedings, Nawaz’s lawyer Amjad Pervaiz submitted an application for one-time exemption for the PML-N leader from personal appearance. However, NAB Prosecutor Asadullah Awan opposed the application saying that Nawaz Sharif should appear before the court as he was not in the hospital but at his home. He also raised the objection that Nawaz’s medical certificate was not attached with the application while the application itself did not have signature of the accused.

The defence counsel replied that his client was being treated at home therefore he did not appear before the court. He further argued that the accused could be exempted from personal appearance till the filing of the reference in the sugar mills case. He submitted that the matter was still being investigated and no trial proceedings had started yet. Maryam Nawaz submitted that she had complied with the court orders, though it was difficult for her to appear in the court while leaving behind his ailing father. Afterwards, the court adjourned proceedings until November 22, giving Nawaz one-time exemption from personal appearance and seeking arguments from the parties on the exemption issue.

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