Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry said on Monday that former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif went to London for treatment from prison and will return to it the moment he lands in Pakistan. He categorically said that Nawaz Sharif will go back to jail on return.
The federal minister, in a statement, said that the court has changed the surety in the case, but it needs to summon Shehbaz Sharif to discuss Nawaz’s return. “First of all, Nawaz was serving jail time so when he returns, he will go back to jail. Secondly, Nawaz will do plea bargain and return the money [he allegedly looted],” said the minister.
Chaudhry stated that Nawaz had been disqualified by the apex court and cannot contest elections.
“Who allowed Nawaz to leave for London?”
PML-N leader Rana Sanaullah reacted to Chaudhry’s statement that Nawaz Sharif will go back to jail, and said that Nawaz went abroad due to illness, adding that there are relevant statements on the matter by the medical board and government officials.
He further said that the “incompetent lot” is contradicting its own statements. “If Nawaz went abroad because of a deal then who allowed it?” wondered the former Punjab law minister.
He continued that Nawaz will return on his own will, and the time he wishes to return upon completion of his treatment.
Earlier on Saturday, Prime Minister Imran Khan’s special assistant on accountability, Shahzad Akbar, said that former premier Nawaz Sharif had left the country for treatment on certain conditions and that none of these had been fulfilled, as the National Accountability Bureau stepped up efforts to continue proceedings in the two cases against him.
NAB has filed an appeal in the Islamabad High Court for Nawaz’s seven-year imprisonment sentence in the Al Azizia Steel Mills case to be extended to 14 years. The case will be heard by Justices Amir Farooq and Mohsin Akhtar Kayani on September 1.
Furthermore, a hearing against Nawaz’s acquittal in the Flagship Investments case will also be held that same day, for which another appeal was filed by NAB.
Nawaz Sharif will go back to jail; 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.