Nawaz postpones departure as name remains on ECL

Former premier's travel summary sent to law ministry

Our Correspondent November 11, 2019
File photo of Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif. PHOTO: REUTERS

Former premier Nawaz Sharif's departure from the country was postponed on Monday as the PML-N supremo's name is yet to be removed from the Exit Control List (ECL) by the authorities.

The former premier was set to depart for London via Doha today along with his brother Shehbaz Sharif and family physician Dr Adnan Khan.

However, his ticket has now been cancelled. Nawaz was scheduled to return to Pakistan on November 27 and his travel summary was sent to the law ministry.

The high courts of Lahore and Islamabad had earlier granted bail to the ailing former premier.

'Name will be removed from ECL today'

Punjab Governor Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar has said that Nawaz Sharif’s name will be removed from the ECL today.

Addressing media in Lahore, the governor further said that the medical board has also recommended Nawaz’s treatment abroad.

“We are all worried about his [Nawaz’s] health,” he said. “I am in contact with relevant departments. We cannot take any risks to his health. His name will be removed from ECL today.”

The governor also reiterated that the incumbent government would not do politics on the former premier’s health.

Nawaz was diagnosed with acute Immune Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP), a bleeding disorder in which the immune system destroys platelets.

However, there has been much improvement in Nawaz's platelet count, which fell to a critical level earlier, ahead of his expected departure for treatment abroad.

Nawaz still on ECL as NAB shifts onus on govt

Nawaz was expected to leave for London on Sunday (November 10) morning to receive medical treatment at the Harley Street Clinic after it was expected that his name would be removed from the ECL by the government.

Statements by government representatives also gave an impression that the government might remove Nawaz’s name on its own even if the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) – which is the prosecution in the case in which Nawaz was convicted – delays permission.

However, Prime Minister Imran Khan made it clear that Nawaz’s name would only be removed on the recommendation of NAB as it was put on the ECL on its recommendation.

Nawaz is serving a seven-year jail term in the Al-Azizia corruption reference. However, he has been granted bail by both the Lahore High Court and the Islamabad High Court on medical grounds.

The 69-year-old former premier was first taken to hospital last month when his blood platelet count dropped to dangerous levels. He is suffering from multiple diseases including diabetes, heart illness among others.

In 2017, the Supreme Court disqualified him from politics for life over graft allegations, which he denies.


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