Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry has said that contact with the British government for former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s return and inquiry of medical reports are the right decisions. In his tweet, Fawad Chaudhry said that Nawaz Sharif’s departure to London has severely damaged Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) narrative and the process of accountability. Analysts are mulling over an intriguing question; is PTI serious to bring Nawaz Sharif back to Pakistan?
The minister stressed that those who were involved in preparing fake medical reports of Nawaz Sharif should be given exemplary punishments.
نواز شریف کی واپسی کیلئے برطانوی حکومت سے رابطہ اور میڈیکل رپورٹس کی انکوائری درست فیصلے ہیں، تحریک انصاف کے بیانئے اور احتساب کے عمل کو نواز شریف کی لندن روانگی نے شدید دھچکہ دیا ، جعلی رپورٹس کی تیاری میں جن لوگوں کا کردار ہے ان کو نشان عبرت بنانا چاہئے
— Ch Fawad Hussain (@fawadchaudhry) August 22, 2020
Notably, Dr. Yasmin Rashid, Punjab’s Health Minister, confirmed Nawaz’s reports, and appeared many times on national TV to brief about his deteriorating health. PML-N leaders now claim that the minister, who happens to be a medical doctor, must be asked if the reports were fabricated or Nawaz was well.
Yesterday, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Shibli Faraz had said that it is necessary to bring back former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to Pakistan and the government would ask the Foreign Office (FO) to take steps for his return.
Recently, Zartaj Gul, State Minister and senior leader of PTI, categorically stated that Nawaz Sharif is absolutely fine and is deliberately not returning to Pakistan.
Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif on daily walk in London today with his son Hasan Nawaz pic.twitter.com/DhFWlAk6Bg
— Rashid Hashmi (@RashidHashmis) August 19, 2020
Analysts believe that this is tantamount to a political rhetoric the government is using to divert the public attention from the disheartening state of governance after two years into power. PTI is accused of having to practical plan to fix the failing economy or deal with internal political turmoil.
Bring Nawaz Sharif back; he is drinking coffee in London, Faraz
Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, Faraz said that Nawaz Sharif was drinking coffee in London and doing politics, while at home, Maulana Fazlur Rehman was talking to Bilawal Bhutto but not with Shahbaz Sharif. “We will use all legal means to bring Nawaz Sharif back. The government has decided to contact the British government through the Foreign Office to bring him back,” the minister told the press conference. “Nawaz Sharif should come back.”
He said that the court and the government allowed Nawaz to leave the country on humanitarian grounds. “Nawaz Sharif went to London under the pretext of treatment, but once there he did not go for even an X-ray. He made a mockery of the country’s laws under the pretext of his illness,” he added.
“Nawaz Sharif will have to come back and face the law. If Nawaz Sharif is innocent, why he is running away from the laws and the courts. He should come back to the country and answer the allegations against him.”
Faraz insisted that it was the duty of the government to uphold the law. He said that the British government would be contacted through the Foreign Office to bring Nawaz back, adding that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) would be asked to contact the Foreign Office in this regard.
Nawaz left for London
It is important to note that the federal cabinet granted in-principle “conditional” approval to remove Nawaz’s name from the ECL. The government had asked the Sharif family to pay Rs.7 billion as surety bonds — equivalent to the fines imposed on him by an accountability court in two corruption cases Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Avenfield properties — in which he was convicted.
The PML-N leadership rejected the offer. While addressing a press conference after consultation meeting of senior party leaders in Lahore, Shehbaz Sharif said that the incumbent government of PTI wanted to take ransom from the Sharif family in the name of indemnity bond.
The Lahore High Court on Saturday (usually an off day) allowed former premier Nawaz Sharif to travel abroad for four weeks for medical treatment, saying the duration could be extended based on medical reports.
A two-judge bench, comprising Justice Ali Baqar Najafi and Justice Sardar Ahmad Naeem, started hearing the petition at 11 am and after multiple breaks and back and forth, delivered the verdict close to 6 pm.
In the court-approved undertaking, Nawaz assured that he would return “within four weeks” ─ a time frame that was missing in the initial handwritten undertaking.
Nawaz went to London after signing a deal?
There is a growing perception that Nawaz Sharif went to London after signing a deal with the establishment. Those who suspect a deal point towards the past. If the history of Pakistan is any witness to help then it may be true. No politically powerful person in Pakistan’s history has ever been punished in a court of law; convictions even if obtained in lower courts are almost always overturned by superior courts. The system simply does not have the will to punish powerful people- they argue.