ISLAMABAD: The interior ministry on Monday gave permission to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif to travel abroad for receiving medical treatment in accordance with the verdict of the Lahore High Court (LHC) over the weekend while keeping his name in the Exit Control List (ECL).
The ministry issued a memorandum after receiving the LHC order. The LHC on Saturday allowed the former prime minister to travel abroad for treatment for four weeks after receiving undertakings from him [Nawaz] and his brother, Shehbaz Sharif, that the former premier would return to the country.
A memorandum issued by the interior ministry said that Nawaz’s name would continue to stay in the ECL; however, he had been granted a one-time permission to travel abroad for four weeks in accordance with the court orders.
Following the interior ministry’s memorandum, Nawaz is all set to fly abroad. A Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader said on Sunday that the former prime minister was expected to leave for London in the early hours of Tuesday, subject to the go-ahead from his doctors.
“An air ambulance has been booked by Hussain [Nawaz’s son] that will arrive here in Lahore on Tuesday,” the PML-N leader told The Express Tribune. “His brother Shehbaz Sharif and [personal physician] Dr Adnan Khan are accompanying him.”
Earlier, PML-N Punjab spokesperson Azma Bukhari had said that Nawaz might not fly directly to London. “He would first make a stopover in Dubai or Qatar. The doctors have advised him not to fly for more than five hours at a stretch.”
On Saturday, a two-member LHC bench heard a petition against the government’s condition of furnishing indemnity bonds to remove Nawaz’s name from the no-fly list.
The bench allowed the former prime minister to travel abroad without having to sign the indemnity.
According to the court order, Shehbaz Sharif could accompany his brother abroad for four weeks. The order came after Shehbaz submitted an undertaking about the former prime minister’s travel and return to Pakistan.
After the court ruling, Prime Minister Imran Khan had directed the government’s legal team to review the decision and present a report in the cabinet meeting, which is taking place on Tuesday (today).
The cabinet will decide whether or not to appeal against the LHC verdict.
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Accountability Mirza Shahzad Akbar had said the LHC verdict reinforced the cabinet’s stance.
“Nawaz Sharif was granted permission on humanitarian grounds since his condition is serious and he needs medical treatment abroad,” he added.
The cabinet meeting on Tuesday (today) is expected to take up a seven-point agenda, which also includes the political and economic situation in the country, as well as appointment to some key positions in the ministries and divisions.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 19th, 2019.