Govt to appeal against removal of Shehbaz Sharif's name from blacklist

Info minister says govt has all legal options open; asks why PML-N chief was allowed to leave country hastily


News Desk May 09, 2021
Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry addressing a press conference on May 9, 2021. SCREENGRAB

ISLAMABAD:

Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry announced on Sunday that the government will appeal against the Lahore High Court's (LHC) decision, allowing Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif to fly abroad.

The federal minister, while addressing a press conference in Islamabad along with Adviser to PM on Accountability and Interior Shahzad Akbar, said that the government had its options open regarding the verdict.

"The way Shehbaz Sharif was allowed to leave Pakistan is a reflection of our dilapidated system," Fawad said while referring to how notices seeking the removal of his name were issued the same day as the case was heard.

This, the minister added, was the system the ruling government was fighting against and will continue to fight.

 

"Allowing Shehbaz to leave is tantamount to acknowledging the prevalent class system [in the country], as other prisoners don't enjoy the privilege of receiving treatment abroad. It gives rise to the impression that elites can set themselves free while the poor languish in jails," the information minister stated.

He added that these kinds of special allowances could destroy a society, calling for there to be one law for all.

Fawad further stated that, "We respect the decisions of the court but we have our legal options open, and we will exercise our right to appeal."

Read LHC orders removal of Shehbaz's name from blacklist, allows him to fly abroad

He stated that the PML-N president should have been asked as to how his guarantee could be accepted when the person [Nawaz Sharif] he was a guarantor for hasn't yet returned.

Speaking on the occasion, Adviser to PM Shahzad Akbar said that the court wasn't properly assisted in the case. "We will appeal against the decision," he added.

"The PML-N is misguiding the public, but the evidence against them is documented and it won't go away," Akbar said.

On Friday, the Lahore High Court granted Shehbaz Sharif the permission to travel abroad once for medical treatment. The leader of the opposition in the National Assembly had earlier filed a petition with the court, seeking directions for the removal of his name from the travel blacklist.

However, the PML-N president was barred from flying from the Lahore airport to the UK via Qatar in the early hours of Saturday by the Federal Investigation Authority (FIA).

The opposition leader in the National Assembly reached the airport along with other party leaders but he was “offloaded” before the Doha-bound flight's departure despite being issued a boarding pass.

FIA officials stopped Shehbaz at the immigration counter, telling him that his name was on the provincial identification list (PNIL) and he could not leave the country until the system was updated.

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