Nawaz leaves for UK today

November 19, 2019

ISLAMABAD and Lahore - Nawaz will leave for the UK today as the federal government Monday finally permitted him to leave the country for treatment in the light of a recent Lahore High Court (LHC) decision. The one-time permission for a period of four weeks was formally notified the interior ministry, which called it an “interim” arrangement. “It has been decided, by way of an interim arrangement, to allow One Time Permission to Muhammad Nawaz Sharif…. to travel abroad for his medical treatment for a period of four weeks, during his bail period,” said the notification available with The Nation. Originally, the LHC on Nov 16 had granted one-time, four weeks permission to the former premier to travel abroad for medical treatment, on a plea filed by his brother Shehbaz Sharif. The veteran politician is facing multiple health problems including an immune system disorder that is not treatable in Pakistan and he needs to go abroad for a specialized treatment, his doctors say.

An air ambulance, Airbus 319, will arrive in Lahore from Qatar today to take Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) supremo to London. The erstwhile premier’s medication has been changed to enable him to travel. Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif will accompany his brother in the well-equipped air ambulance. Nawaz’s personal physician Dr Adnan Khan, two other doctors and paramedics will assist the PML-N leader during his travel. Dr Adnan Khan shared in a tweet details about the air ambulance and plan for hours long air travel. “Former PM Nawaz Sharif will travel to London in a high-end Air Ambulance equipped with a fully functional & staffed Intensive Care Unit (ICU) & Operation Theatre (OT). A team of doctors & paramedics will be on board headed by an Intensivist. ETD (LHE): Tuesday 19NOV19 Morning”, his tweet reads.

Two pilots will fly the plane having fuel for 10 hours air travel. Hussain Nawaz, son of the ex-PM, had already booked a private room in Harley Street Clinic in Central London and also forwarded diagnostic reports to senior consultants in the United States for getting feedback for treatment of his fatherSpecial Medical Board of Sharif Medical City Hospital, headed by Dr Adnan Khan, yesterday examined health condition of ex-PM and after detailed deliberations prescribed steroids for enhancing platelets count to a level safe for air travelling.

PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb also said in a twitter statement that Nawaz will depart abroad on November 19. “Doctors are making efforts for controlling side effects of excessive use of steroids and other medicines”, she said. “We shall warmly welcome Nawaz Sharif when he returns to Pakistan after recuperating. The government should turn its focus to serve people instead of getting jealous of Nawaz and Shehbaz,” she said.

Govt notification

On November 12, Nawaz Sharif’s ticket to London for medical treatment was cancelled due to delay in excluding his name from ECL. Nawaz was previously, scheduled to travel UK on Qatar Airways flight. On November 16, the Lahore High Court ordered the federal government to exclude Mr Sharif’s name from the Exit Control List (ECL) by suspending an earlier notification of the ministry that had put a condition on him to submit an indemnity bond of over 7.5 billion to fly abroad.

The court said that “he will return when certified by doctors that he has regained his health and is fit to return back to Pakistan.” The Monday’s notification reproduced the “operative parts” of the court order and undertakings given by Mr Sharif and his younger brother Shahbaz Sharif to the LHC stating the terms and conditions  of their travel and return. “I, Mr Sharif … do here by undertake to return to Pakistan as per my past record to face the process of law and justice within four weeks as soon as I am declared healthy and fit to travel back to Pakistan by my doctors,” said the undertaking of former premier. “I, Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif … do hereby undertake to ensure return of my brother Sharif, within four weeks or as and when certified by doctors that he has regained his health and is fit to return back to Pakistan,” said the notification reproducing undertaking of former chief minister Punjab.

The undertaking further stated that a representative from Pakistan’s High Commission would have a right to meet Sharif’s doctors to “verify or confirm about his health” if federal government has “credible information that he is living abroad despite his fitness to travel.” Earlier this month, President PML-N Shahbaz Sharif had submitted an application with the Ministry of Interior seeking removal of his elder brother Sharif’s name from the ECL. The application was submitted following LHC on October 25 had granted post-arrest bail to former prime minister on medical grounds in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills case. On October 29, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) also suspended his sentence for eight weeks on medical grounds in the Al Azizia Steel Mills case.

After the submission of application, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Political Affairs Naeemul Haq on November 8 said that PM Imran Khan had no objection if Sharif wanted to travel abroad for his treatment. A day after this, the government in a second thought did not allow the former PM to go abroad and sent the matter to the sub-committee of the cabinet on ECL. The sub-committee after hearing all parties including National Accountability Bureau (NAB), on whose request the name was placed on ECL, the medical board and the applicant, gave a conditional offer to Sharif to fly abroad. It said that former PM should furnish an indemnity bond to the government to get his name removed from ECL to ensure that he would return back to the country. PML-N denied to accept the condition and challenged the decision before the LHC.

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