ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that he holds no grudge against Nawaz Sharif and that the ailing former premier’s health is more important than politics.
The statement came a day after PML-N chief Shehbaz Sharif warned that he would hold Imran Khan responsible if anything happened to his brother as his administration was “dilly dallying on the removal of Nawaz’s name from the no-fly list”.
Presiding over a meeting of the PTI core committee on Friday, the prime minister said his government had facilitated the Sharif family patriarch at every forum on humanitarian grounds and also came up with a legal option to strike his name off the Exit Control List (ECL).
He said the government had no issues if the Sharif family opted to approach the court instead of furnishing an indemnity bond for the removal of Nawaz’s name from the ECL. However, the prime minister regretted that the Sharif family was “playing politics” on the 69-year-old politician’s health.
The interior ministry on Wednesday decided to grant former premier Nawaz “one-time” permission to travel abroad for medical treatment for four weeks provided he submits an indemnity bond to the tune of Rs7 billion. The PML-N snubbed the condition and challenged it in the Lahore High Court on Friday.
Premier Imran noted that Nawaz’s health was deteriorating and his family’s first priority should be to take him abroad for treatment instead of wrangling over the issue of the indemnity bond.
Participants of the PTI’s core committee meeting also decided to take legal action against JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman for criticising the state institutions in his incendiary speeches during the 13-day-long dharna of his party in Islamabad.
The prime minister said the firebrand cleric had severely damaged the Kashmir cause through his so-called ‘Azadi March’ and also used the “religion card” at his dharna. “The nation has rejected the Maulana’s narrative,” he said, adding that the JUI-F chief was now hoodwinking the people through ‘Plan B’ of his ‘Azadi March’.
He also pointed out that the government had facilitated the dharna participants and not created any obstacles for them.
The prime minister formed a committee to look into the affairs of the media and improve the government’s image. The body will comprise Special Assistant to the PM on Information Firdous Ashiq Awan, PTI leaders Jahangir Tareen and Asad Umar and Science and Technology Minister Fawad Chaudhry and report directly to the premier.
Another committee was formed to give recommendations to introduce changes in line with the vision of the state of Madina. It will comprise Religious Affairs Minister Noorul Haq Qadri, National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Governor Shah Farman.
The PTI core committee also constituted a committee for parliamentary affairs. It comprises Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Defence Minister Pervez Khattak, National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser and Leader of the House in Senate Shibli Faraz.
Taking to Twitter following the meeting, Firdous Ashiq Awan wrote that the participants of the core committee meeting unanimously agreed that the opposition leaders had displayed opportunism by participating in the ‘Azadi March’ only to cover up their corruption.
“Terming the dharna a success can only be considered a foolish mindset,” she claimed, adding that the ‘Azadi March’ had adversely affected the Kashmir cause.
The Maulana’s march came at a time when the government was actively highlighting the siege of Indian Occupied Kashmir internationally. And government ministers say that the march took the global spotlight off Indian atrocities in IOK.