Mian Mohammed Nawaz Sharif
Ailing deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif has refused to travel abroad for his medical treatment under the conditions set by the government.
He turned down the government’s offer made on medical grounds and to pay Rs7 billion as surety bonds — equivalent to the fines imposed on him by an accountability court in two cases — in which he was convicted.
At the end of the marathon meetings of the cabinet sub-committee held in three sessions, Law Minister Farogh Naseem, who heads the body, which decides the cases of Exit Control List (ECL), told the reporters that the forum reserved its decision and the final nod would be given by the federal cabinet.
“We are not a decision-making authority but a recommendatory body and, therefore, we will present our recommendations to the cabinet,” he said, adding that the decision on the matter was not time-barred.
He said the sub-committee did its job on merit and its decision was not binding on Sharif. Asked under what law the committee or the government could get surety bonds from Sharif who had already submitted them to the courts, the law minister simply replied: “No comments.”
A member of the committee said that the government side has already made its mind, even before the meeting, that Sharif would be asked for indemnity bonds if he wanted to travel abroad for medical treatment.
The government wanted that the ex-premier’s brother Shahbaz Sharif or his daughter Maryam submit on his behalf surety bonds equivalent to the fines imposed on him in the two corruption cases.
“We categorically told the government that Nawaz Sharif would not submit any indemnity bonds to the government for his departure for London for his treatment,” a representative of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) said.
He said the government’s ‘conditions’ were brought to the knowledge of Nawaz Sharif by his younger brother.
“Nawaz Sharif said these demands/conditions are illegal and can’t be met in the presence of court guarantees already submitted to it (court) with regard to his bail,” he said.
The PML-N leader said Nawaz expressed his annoyance over the government’s “tricks” on the matter.
“The government cannot hold another court of its own on the earlier decision of the Islamabad High Court that granted Mr Sharif eight-week bail on medical grounds,” he said.
“If something happens to Nawaz Sharif, Imran Khan and company will be responsible as his condition is critical and government is using the opportunity for their dirty politics,” another senior PML-N leader said.
A PML-N lawyer, who represented Shahbaz Sharif in the sub-committee, said that in the presence of surety bonds submitted in both cases to the courts, there was no legal need to submit any more surety bonds to the government.
PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb said Nawaz Sharif would not submit any fresh surety bonds.
“No surety bonds as they are already submitted in courts,” she added. She said her party leadership would not accept another such demand.
Meanwhile, top legal experts are unanimous that the government’s demand from Nawaz Sharif to deposit security bond to leave Pakistan for medical treatment is unjustified as it has no such authority.
Instead of putting conditions to remove the former premier’s name from Exit Control List (ECL), the federal government should have referred the matter to the court, they said.
“Sharif’s conviction is suspended and he has already deposited surety bonds with the court to secure his bail. The government has the authority of putting or removing someone’s name on ECL, but in Sharif’s case it is an unjustified act because the court has already allowed him to get medical treatment of his choice. The government’s is against the court verdict,” believe the experts.
Abid Hassan Minto — one of Pakistan’s top legal mind — said that Sharif was convicted by the court and then he has been granted bail. Whether he is allowed to go abroad for his treatment or not it is up to the federal government.
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