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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

How Come Maryam Nawaz is Going to London?

There are some media reports claiming that the vice President of PML-N Maryam Nawaz is scheduled to leave for London on this Saturday. Is it true?

Uncertainty continues to dominate the political discourse in Pakistan. The biggest question is whether Maryam Nawaz will be allowed to leave for London or not. The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Tuesday issued a notice to the National Accountability Bureau seeking its reply to PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz’s request to include former premier Nawaz Sharif’s fresh medical reports in her plea seeking permission to travel abroad to be with her ailing father.

Her lawyers, Amjad Pervez and Azam Nazir Tarrar, told a three-member bench headed Justice Ali Baqar Najafi that the latest medical reports of their client’s father had been submitted to the court.

They informed the court the their client had returned to the country long with her father to serve her sentence despite the illness of her mother, who later passed away, even though she could have opted to stay abroad.

Read more: Options for Maryam Nawaz after government’s refusal to remove her name from ECL

The lawyers requested the court to allow Maryam to travel so that she could be with her father, who had an angiography procedure scheduled for February 24.

The PML-N supremo is currently in London for medical treatment. While Maryam had sought permission to fly abroad to be with her father, the federal cabinet in December last year decided not to remove her name from the exit control list (ECL) in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills reference. On January 14, the federal cabinet placed her name on the ECL for the second time in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills case.

Nawaz’s personal physician Dr Adnan Khan said that the former prime minister, after intensive investigations, was found to have “complex multi-vessel coronary artery disease and substantial ischemic and threatened myocardium”.

In a tweet on last Wednesday, Dr. Adnan Khan highlighted that Nawaz was scheduled to undergo a procedure last week. However, the procedure was delayed as Maryam was not allowed to travel.

“Now, once again, the procedure is being postponed for a later date for the same reason.”

He stressed that “any undue delay is taxing on [Nawaz’s] health and could have adverse consequences”. “Maryam must be with her father at the time of this complicated, high risk cardiac intervention,” he added.

Ailing Nawaz was dining outside?

It is worth noting that recently a picture of ailing former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at a local restaurant in London went viral. The picture showed Nawaz Sharif was having dinner with PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif, former finance minister Ishaq Dar, Salman Shehbaz, Hassan Nawaz and others.

Read more: NAB requests interior ministry to place name of Nawaz, Maryam and Safdar on ECL

As the picture started circulating on social media Ms. Yasmin Rashid contacted Nawaz Sharif’s personal physician and sought details about Sharif’s health.

Sharif had been granted bail on medical grounds by the Islamabad High Court for eight weeks in late October. He had been serving a sentence in the Al-Azizia reference when he was granted bail and had subsequently left Pakistan for London for medical treatment.

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.

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 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.

“Discrepancy” between medical reports and manifest behavior

Brig (R) Ijaz Ahmad Shah, Interior Minister, said that there is a “discrepancy” between the medical reports of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, and the behavior he exhibited while departing for London for his medical treatment.

Speaking to prominent TV show host Mehar Bukhari, the interior minister said that the nation would not have questioned Nawaz Sharif’s departure from the country if he had departed “like a sick person” or was at least, seen boarding the plane on a wheelchair.

Brig (R) Ijaz Ahmad Shah maintained that he was not involved in the process, but currently prevailing “doubts” would not have existed if he had been tasked with an investigation on the severity of Nawaz’s medical condition.

Commenting on the “issue” with Nawaz’s departure from the country, Shah observed that the problem started due to the “manner in which the Lahore High Court handled the case.” He said that it was uncommon for the LHC to hear an application on a Saturday, which was done in the case of Nawaz’s petition.

Read more: NAB given one week notice to respond to Maryam’s application

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. In this case, powerful sections of media, doctors and other actors active behind the scenes may be making a case to pressurized Prime Minister to let Nawaz go to London under a medical emergency, it’s being said.