Call it a six-week-long leave, not a bail: Fawad schools PML-N

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Fawad Chaudhry, Federal Minister for Information, said that the use of the term ‘bail’ seems inappropriate for the “six-week-long leave” PML-N supreme leader Nawaz Sharif has been granted by the Supreme Court.  Federal Minister was addressing a press conference after a meeting of the federal cabinet post-decision of the apex court. It is important to mention here that the Supreme Court of Pakistan granted Nawaz Sharif bail for six weeks so that he may get medical treatment of his choice within the country.

According to the short order, the former prime minister will have to surrender himself to jail authorities once the six weeks are over. If he fails to surrender, he will be arrested. Nawaz has further been barred from leaving the country.

Now if in the future Nawaz’s bail gets cancelled and he is sent back to jail again, the PML-N shall not be in a position to point fingers at the superior judiciary.

Fawad Chaudhry said that the government fully respects the apex court’s decision. “The Supreme Court’s verdict is welcome. It is not much different from what we have been offering [to Sharif]. We also said that Sharif has the option to seek treatment in any hospital of his choosing. If they had listened to us, they would not have had to pay extra money to Khawaja Haris [for arguing Sharif’s case].”

He further stated that “Nawaz Sharif’s narrative has been exposed fully; he does not suffer from illness, just stress. The chief justice raised a very valid question when he pointed out that Sharif is not alone in feeling stress — all inmates feel that”.

Read more: Nawaz out for six weeks to get medical treatment

However, PML-N leader contended the government narrative and maintained that the truth about the deteriorating health conditions of Nawaz Sharif has now been established. Ahsan Iqbal, PML-N leader, and former Interior Minister tweeted that “SC verdict has clearly established that MNS is facing serious health issues and requires proper medical treatment. PTI Leaders should be ashamed of politicising his illness. Earlier they did the same with his wife’s illness. Unfortunately, IK has only fed hate into his followers.”

Is Nawaz Sharif’s Politics Over?

Many independent analysts did not appreciate the decision and claimed it to be something determining the line between the weak and the powerful. Hussain Nadim, a columnist, and a scholar said that “Glad to see #NawazSharif out of the jail. He never belonged there in the first place. Jails are for poor and irrelevant people, let’s keep it that way!”

Lawyer Saad Rasool believes that the decision of the apex court shall be harmful to the politics of Nawaz Sharif since his narrative got challenged. “SC showed compassion to MNS & released him on conditional bail. Ground: that he cannot undergo treatment in jail owing to mental pressure and anxiety. MNS lawyers withdrew from earlier (public) stance of going abroad & not getting treatment in Pakistan. Will hurt his politics,” he said.

He also questioned if the decision rendered by the apex court shall also set a precedent for every convicted person in the country or is it only for the powerful. “Will ‘mental anxiety’ now be a ground for bail in all criminal cases? Can a convict say that he is facing much anguish & stress (for being in jail), which is affecting the rest of his health, and thus must be released? And does this precedent apply to Allah Ditta or just MNS?” he tweeted.

Analyst Ayaz Amir argued at private TV channel that the bail granted to Nawaz Sharif may have some immediate benefits but in the long run, he has nothing to gain. Nawaz and his party have repeatedly been accusing the judiciary and the NAB of victimizing them on political grounds but the present decision have buried their narrative. Now if in the future Nawaz’s bail gets cancelled and he is sent back to jail again, the PML-N shall not be in a position to point fingers at the superior judiciary.