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Politics versus humanity: Has Nawaz’s health placed the government in a blind alley?

Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi has suggested the PTI government to let Nawaz Sharif leave for London. Has the ECL controversy led the government to a blind alley?

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Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, Speaker Punjab Assembly and ally of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) government has said that the government should not talk about money if it is talking about humanity in the case of Nawaz Sharif, former premier convicted in corruption cases. He also noted that all the properties of Nawaz have been transferred to his children. Mr. Elahi encouraged the government not to do politics on such sensitive matters and let Nawaz Sharif leave the country.

He was invited as a guest in Dunya News program” Nuqta-e-Nazar,” where he said that Sharif family is questioning why they should give any guarantee. “Nawaz has been granted bail by the courts so why should he give guarantee to the government if he wants to leave for London?” he asked.

It is important to note that the federal cabinet on Tuesday granted in-principle “conditional” approval to remove Nawaz’s name from the ECL. The government has asked the Sharif Family to pay Rs7 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 letter read that special medical board agreed with the doctors of the Services Hospital for moving the ex-premier abroad for medical treatment

Sharif was admitted to the Services Hospital in Lahore on Oct. 22 from Kot Lakhpat Jail after his platelets dropped to a dangerously low level of 2,000.

During his appearance in SAMAA TV show ‘Nadeem Malik Live’ on Thursday night, Pervaiz Elahi said that he had told PM Khan to let Nawaz leave for London, otherwise he would be placed in a dangerous situation. Prime Minister Imran agreed with his stance, he added.

The interior ministry issued a memorandum to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday which stated that the former prime minister will be allowed to travel to London if he submits an indemnity bond as following: 8million UK Pounds or equivalent rupees; 25 million US Dollars or equivalent rupees; and Rs 1.5bn. The memo read that it could either be submitted by Nawaz or Shehbaz.

Read more: Nawaz Sharif Rejects Govt’s “Tricks”: Deems Rs.7 Billion Surety Bonds illegal

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) categorically rejected the conditional offer of the government and decided to approach the court. While addressing a press conference after consultation meeting of senior party leaders in Lahore, Shehbaz Sharif said that the incumbent government of PTI wants to take ransom from Sharif family in the name of indemnity bond.

“And today when two high courts have granted him [Nawaz] bail and said that he can avail treatment in Pakistan or abroad. But the government is doing politics on the issue. Renowned lawyers of the country have criticised the [government] decision,” said Shehbaz.

Some experts believe that what the government is asking for is ‘illegal’ and ‘unprecedented’. “The government has two legal options in this case; a) allow Nawaz to leave the country or b) declined Nawaz’s request,” a lawyer told GVS. It is argued that the government cannot impose fine or demand any surety bond from the persons concerned in this regard.

PML-N’s legal team prepared an application pleading with the court to order removal of Sharif’s name from the ECL without any conditionality

On the other hand, there is a strong legal opinion that since Nawaz is a convicted criminal, the government has to set some principles before it allows him to leave for London. There is also an argument that Nawaz Sharif should approach the Islamabad or Lahore High court in this regard.

Analysts maintain that generally those convicted by the courts are not allowed to leave the country.

Nawaz’s personal physician maintained that delaying his trip to London could lead to the worsening of his health. Dr Adnan Khan on Friday tweeted, “Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s health status remains critical.” The pictures of a letter sent by the Medical Board of the Services Hospital to Punjab’s Health Department on Sunday were also attached with the tweet.

The letter read that special medical board agreed with the doctors of the Services Hospital for moving the ex-premier abroad for medical treatment.

Dr. Moeed Pirzada also questioned why a surety bond had become a matter of such importance for the PML-N.

Moreover, the Lahore High Court (LHC) will be hearing an application, filed by the PML-N, for the removal of former premier Nawaz Sharif’s name from the Exit Control List (ECL), without any conditionality ‘imposed’ by the federal government.

PML-N’s legal team prepared an application pleading with the court to order removal of Sharif’s name from the ECL without any conditionality, including submission of surety bonds and only one-time stay abroad for four weeks on medical grounds.

Read more: PMLN to Choose Between Money & Nawaz Sharif? – Maleeha Hashmey

The application maintained that former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been granted bail on medical grounds; however the interior ministry has not removed Sharif’s name from the no-fly list. It further recalled that Sharif, despite of being convicted, left his ailing wife [in the UK] and returned back to Pakistan with his daughter.

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