Federal cabinet allows Sharif to travel abroad for treatment - GulfToday

Federal cabinet allows Sharif to travel abroad for treatment

Nawaz Sharif. File

Tariq Butt

The federal cabinet on Tuesday removed the name of deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif from the Exit Control List (ECL) and allowed him to go abroad for medical treatment if he files a surety/security bond to return to Pakistan.

This decision was announced when a sub-committee of the cabinet led by Law Minister Dr Farogh Naseem was continuing lengthy deliberations discussing the same issue.

If the surety/security bond was filed, Sharif will leave for Britain on Wednesday as an air ambulance is reaching Lahore the same day to take him to London.

During a chat with reporters, Naseem termed the issue of striking Sharif’s name off the ECL a bit complex. He said that the representatives of Sharif and National Accountability Bureau (NAB) have been asked to bring along documents.

He said that some documents that the NAB had to produce were missing and that the counsels for Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shahbaz Sahrif have also been asked to produce additional documents because they were “not fully prepared.”

“The matter cannot proceed if the documentation is not complete,” the law minister said, adding that the meeting had already considered several aspects. He stressed that the sub-committee will decide the application “on merit.”

The meeting was attended by Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Accountability Shahzad Akbar, Sharif’s personal physician Dr Adnan Khan, PML-N leader Ataullah Tarar and Health Secretary Momin Agha.

Head of the medical board which was examining the ex-premier at Services Institute of Medical Sciences (SIMS), Dr Mahmood Ayaz, also appeared before the committee.

Interior Secretary Azam Suleman was also present in the meeting.

The health secretary submitted three medical reports, one of which clearly stated that Sharif needed to be shifted abroad for medical treatment.

The NAB prosecutor, who had been summoned to present the anti-corruption watchdog’s stance on the matter, told the committee that the body had no objection to Sharif being sent abroad for medical treatment on humanitarian grounds.

The counsel for the Sharif family, Barrister Munawwar Iqbal Dogal, said he presented legal arguments before the committee regarding the removal of Sharif’s name from the ECL.

Earlier, Interior Minister Ijaz Shah said that Sharif was not going out of Pakistan on a permanent basis as he will return after recovering from illness.

During a chat with reporters, the minister dispelled the notion that Sharif was being given relief under a deal. He said that according to doctors Sharif’s health was in critical condition and his treatment was not possible in Pakistan.

He said all federal ministers were in favour of allowing Sharif to go abroad for treatment.

Commenting on the ongoing Azadi March of the Jamiat Ulemae Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), supported by the opposition parties, the minister said the government was giving Maulana Fazlur Rehman so much love that he will forget his demand for the prime minister’s resignation.

The minister, however, conceded that the JUI-F chief was not going to leave Islamabad anytime soon. “We have given the protesters water, electricity and medical support,” he said, adding that Rehman has grown fond of Islamabad. Shah conceded that there was inflation in Pakistan but said that the Prime Minister Imran Khan government was making efforts to provide relief to the people. He blamed the Sharif and Asif Ali Zardari’s governments for the current inflation in Pakistan.

Meanwhile, former premier and Pakistan Muslim League-Q (PML-Q) President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, who is an ally of the government, has advised Imran and his cabinet to show big heart and allow Sharif to go abroad for medical treatment.

“This matter should not fall prey to official complexity and the government should make a decision to remove Sharif’s name from Exit Control List on humanitarian ground,” Hussain said in a statement.

He said the politics should not be on illness of anyone as if God Forbids anything happens to Sharif, it will only bring further bitterness in politics. He said if the matter got involved in officialdom, not only there will be chaos but national economy will also suffer as a result difficulties of the people will also be increased.

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