Nawaz’s fate to be decided today

November 12, 2019

ISLAMABAD - The federal cabinet will decide today whether the travel ban on former prime minister Nawaz Sharif should be lifted or not as the former prime minister’s ticket to London was cancelled amid indecision. Sources in the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz said that the ticket to London for medical treatment was cancelled after the government delayed a decision to remove his name from the Exit Control List. The PML-N supurmo and three-time PM was scheduled to travel to UK on Qatar Airways flight QR 629 yesterday. However, his ticket was cancelled as the authorities did not remove his name from the ECL. Hi daughter Maryam Nawaz, his brother Shehbaz Sharif and personal doctor Dr Adnan Khan were also due to leave Pakistan along with Nawaz Sharif. Yesterday, Science and Technology Minister Fawad Chaudhry claimed that the entire federal cabinet was not in favour of removing Nawaz’s name from the no-fly list.

In a statement, he said the federal cabinet had not yet received any summary in this regard. “Cabinet’s approval is required to exclude former premier’s name from ECL so that he can go abroad for medical treatment,” he added. A committee, under the supervision of law ministry, will present recommendations on removing Nawaz Sharif’s name from ECL in federal cabinet meeting today (November 12). However, Punjab Governor Chaudhry Mohammed Sarwar said Sharif’s name would be removed from the ECL by the cabinet. He said everyone was worried about the health of Nawaz and that the government would not politicize the matter. He said that the former premier would be allowed to go anywhere for medical treatment after his name is excluded from the ECL.

Yesterday, the National Accountability Bureau said it was upto to the government to the government to decide the matter of excluding Nawaz Sharif’s name from the ECL. The anti-graft watchdog sent the case to the interior ministry a day after receiving Nawaz Sharif’s medical reports from the ministry. The ministry in return sent the matter to a sub-committee which asked the related parties to appear before it at 10am today (November 12). The committee in its notification asked the applicant, Shehbaz Sharif, NAB, the Punjab government and medical board to bring relevant documents. Officials said the PM or interior ministry cannot remove any name from the ECL without a proper procedure.

Arrangements for best medical treatment for Nawaz Sharif had been completed at Harley Street Clinic in London by his son Hussain Nawaz. The doctors at the Sharif Medical City Hospital recommended shifting the erstwhile premier abroad for treatment as his platelets count had dropped below 30,000. PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz said her father must go anywhere in the world where his treatment was possible. She maintained it was another debate whether Nawaz Sharif is willing for treatment abroad or not. Nawaz was discharged from Lahore’s Services Hospital last week, where he was undergoing a medical treatment for 16 days due to fluctuation in his platelets count.

On October 25, the Lahore High Court had bailed him indefinitely on medical grounds in Chaudhry Sugar Mills case, days after he was taken to Services Hospital from Kot Lakhpat Jail after deterioration of his health. The ruling had come after doctors confirmed the former PM was suffering from an autoimmune blood disorder requiring immediate medical attention. Keeping in view his health condition, Islamabad High Court on October 30 had granted him bail for eight weeks over two surety bonds worth Rs2 million each. Nawaz Sharif was sentenced to seven years in prison in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills corruption reference on December last year. Rs1.5 billion and $25 million fine, a disqualification of 10 years from holding any public office was part of the sentences awarded to the former premier. The Sharif Medical City Hospital had recommended shifting the erstwhile premier abroad for treatment as his platelets count had dropped below 30,000.

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