Wednesday Nov 13, 2019
All three members of the cabinet subcommittee agree that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif needs to be treated at a hospital abroad, says Sharif’s personal physician.
“There is no deadlock,” Dr Adnan Khan told Geo.tv. “The committee is convinced that Nawaz Sharif is unwell, unstable and needs to travel for his medical treatment.”
The ailing former prime minister’s name was placed on the Exit Control List (ECL) last August to prevent him from leaving Pakistan, after he was sentenced to 10 years in prison for corruption. The conviction was later suspended by a high court, yet Sharif’s name remained on the no-fly list.
Last month, the Islamabad High Court granted bail to Nawaz Sharif on humanitarian grounds, as his health deteriorated. Soon after, on November 6, Sharif’s younger brother submitted an application to the ministry of interior to have the ex-premier’s name removed from the ECL.
The government-appointed medical board and Sharif’s doctors agree that the former prime minister needs to undergo tests that are not available in Pakistan.
The final decision of whether or not Sharif will be allowed to leave the country now rests with the federal cabinet. Headed by Prime Minister Imran Khan, it met for four hours on Monday but was unable to reach a verdict.
In order to facilitate the cabinet, a subcommittee of the ECL met on Tuesday. The committee has three members: the law minister, the special assistant to the prime minister on accountability and the secretary interior. During the meeting, Dr Khan was asked to make a detail presentation about Sharif’s health. Later, the head of the government-appointed committee also briefed the members. No one at the committee opposed letting the PML-N leader travel for specialized care.
“The only issue right now is that the government requires Nawaz Sharif to deposit surety bonds to secure his bail,” Dr Khan said. “The family has refused to do so.”
The surety bonds, insists the government, will serve as a guarantee that the Pakistan Muslim League-N’s leader will return to the country after his health improves to serve the remaining of his sentence.
But Attaullah Tarrar, the deputy secretary of the PML-N, told the media that Nawaz Sharif has already submitted surety bonds in the Lahore High Court and then the Islamabad High Court. “We will not provide any further bonds.”
The final decisions, said Dr Adnan Khan, could be made today. “The subcommittee has sought a written reply from the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) about removing Sharif’s name from the ECL. Once that comes through, the committee will forward its recommendations to the federal cabinet, which will then give the final nod.”