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First NRO of 2019: Nawaz, Shehbaz & Maryam Set To Leave For London

Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz, and Shahbaz Sharif are likely to leave for London. Is this the first deal of 2019? First NRO?

Nawaz

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has finally allowed Nawaz Sharif, former Prime Minister of Pakistan, to leave for London for his treatment. According to media reports, a letter has been written to the federal cabinet to pass appropriate instructions to take Nawaz’s name off the Exit Control List (ECL). Earlier there were speculations that an alleged deal has been signed between the establishment and PML-N. The party has categorically rejected such allegations.

It is pertinent to recall that Nawaz was recently granted bail by the Lahore High Court and Islamabad High Court on health grounds. He is reportedly suffering from a serious illness. However, analysts believe that an NRO has been given to the PML-N.

Journalist Rauf Klasra broke the news that the deal was facilitated by several friendly countries including Turkey.

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister Naeem ul Haque said that the government had seen Nawaz’s reports. He said that the former prime minister was ill and the decision has been taken in light of it. “It is the right of every Pakistani to have themselves treated as they see fit. The government has no reservations over Nawaz seeking treatment abroad,” he said.

Read more: Medical Board Recommends Nawaz Sharif Needs To Go Abroad For Treatment

Naeem said that it was up to the courts to decide how much time will be given to PML-N’s supreme leader to seek medical treatment. “The court will decide as to how many times Nawaz can go abroad. It is also up to the court to decide on how long Nawaz can stay abroad for medical treatment,” he added.

Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif will presumably accompany elder brother Nawaz Sharif for his treatment abroad and has canceled all other engagements.

On the other hand, Maryam Nawaz has contacted her legal team and decided to file a miscellaneous petition to get her passport back which was submitted in the Lahore High Court following her bail approval. The counsels also met Shehbaz Sharif.

Ministry of Interior Waiting For Formal Instructions

In a recent press release, the Ministry of Interior stated that it received a formal application from Shehbaz Sharif for the removal of Nawaz Sharif’s name from the ECL on medical grounds.

The Ministry of Interior said that it has referred the matter to the NAB to which the removal request was also sent. “The Ministry of Interior has taken all necessary actions keeping in view the urgency of the matter as pleaded by Mian Shehbaz Sharif in his request.

The Ministry of Interior will make its recommendations to the Competent Authority in view of the facts and after consulting all stakeholders,” said the press release.

The officials at the interior ministry are waiting for the formal orders to remove the PML-N supremo’s name from the ECL. They added that the former premier will be allowed to travel abroad within the next 48 hours.

Controlled Political Process in Pakistan

This is the latest case that exposes the ugly realities of Pakistan’s legal system where a daughter shall be given permission to leave the country because her father is not well.

M Pitafi, a Lahore-based Political Analyst who teaches Politics and International Relations at UMT, Lahore, believes that “it was expected”. “Let’s be clear about one thing that whenever there is a top-bottom approach to democratize any country there shall be the same problems,” he said.

Read more: Maryam Nawaz gets bail to attend to Nawaz, at the cost of her passport

Professor Pitafi is of the view that in Pakistan our approach towards democracy is misleading since it gives ‘more power’ to one institution which ultimately becomes the center of all politics.

A Lahore-based professor of Political Science also spoke to GVS and argued that “whenever there is a controlled democratic process, it has to face such ill-fated ends. A top-bottom approach in the age of social media (post-fact society) is suicidal. It is destined to doom the overall political system.

The only way forward for Pakistan is to

a) let civilian institutions evolve

b) end political engineering by the agencies

c) focus on citizens’ socialization to become responsible voters, and this is to be done by the political parties as well as public intellectuals; as PTI did mobilize middle-class youth and sought its space”.

He also suggested to come out of security state argument. “Pakistan shall continue to face such shameful scenarios unless we decide to believe in a genuine representative democracy, and say a permanent goodbye to the security state narrative. These are the lessons for all of us,” he said.

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