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Saturday Nov 16 2019
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Nawaz Sharif’s name to be removed from ECL for four weeks

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Saturday permitted to remove former prime minister Nawaz Sharif's name from the Exit Control List (ECL)  without any conditions for a time period of four weeks. 

On Friday, the LHC called the plea admissible regarding the removal of former premier Nawaz Sharif’s name from the ECL on a conditional basis — the government had said it would allow a 'one-time permission' provided Nawaz Sharif deposited surety bonds worth Rs7-7.5 billion.

In its decision, the LHC said that in case Nawaz's health doesn't improve then the time-period can be extended, adding that the government officials will be able to contact Nawaz through the Pakistani embassy.

During the hearing today, the LHC presented petitioner Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and the federal government’s counsels a proposed draft on the undertaking.

The High Court earlier said that it would create its own draft of Shehbaz’s undertaking guaranteeing the return of his brother — Nawaz Sharif — to Pakistan, after the siblings and the government's counsels could not reach an agreement on the phrasing of the draft and its terms. 

When asked about the court’s recommended draft, Shehbaz Sharif’s lawyer Ashtar Ausaf said that it is acceptable to the party as the government’s stance was rejected.

The federal government counsels have taken the proposed draft to consult higher-ups.

Earlier in the hearing, Shehbaz submitted a draft of the undertaking to the court, saying that he would "facilitate" Nawaz’s return to Pakistan following his treatment abroad.

The LHC had asked for a written affidavit from the Sharif family guaranteeing that Nawaz would return to Pakistan after he has regained his health.

PML-N's undertaking on Nawaz's travel abroad

Shehbaz’s lawyer submitted the two-page long draft of the affidavit in the court.

According to the details of the draft, “Nawaz Sharif will return to the country as soon as his health is stabilised. He [Nawaz Sharif] will face his cases as soon as he returns to the country.”

The affidavit further said, Nawaz will return to the country as soon as the doctors allow him. “Nawaz Sharif is travelling abroad on the recommendation of the Pakistani doctors,” it added.

A draft was also submitted by the government which read, “Nawaz Sharif will travel abroad for medical reason. Whenever, the doctors will declare Nawaz fit, he will return to the country.”

The draft further said, “The federal government has the power to ask Nawaz to return to the country at any time”

“Shehbaz Sharif should submit an undertaking saying that if Nawaz Sharif does not return to the country, Shehbaz will pay the fine,” the draft further said.

However, the draft submitted by the government lawyer was rejected by Shehbaz’s lawyer, stating that the draft submitted by the government lawyer was unconstitutional. 

The court suggested that the word “facilitate” be replaced with “ensure” in the undertaking submitted by Shehbaz.

The court also ordered that Nawaz’s medical report be presented.

The additional attorney general requested that the government’s draft be made part of the court order.

Earlier, the court had sought written assurances from the PML-N president regarding Nawaz's removal from the no-fly list.

Shehbaz’s counsel Amjad Pervaiz told the court that former prime minister was ready to assure the court that he will return to Pakistan after he recovers. He added that the former premier was going abroad on the recommendations of the doctors.

The court also asked the PML-N president what role he would play to ensure that Nawaz returns to Pakistan.

Photo: Geo News

During the the recess, Shehbaz’s lawyer submitted the two-page long draft of the affidavit in the court. 

The draft after being submitted to the court's associate was sent to the judges in their chamber.

According to the details of the draft, “Nawaz Sharif will return to the country as soon as he recovers after his treatment. He [Nawaz Sharif] will face his cases as soon as he returns to the country.”

The affidavit further said, Nawaz will return to the country as soon as the doctors allow him. “Nawaz Sharif is travelling abroad on the recommendation of the Pakistani doctors,” it added. 

Earlier, during the hearing the two-member bench comprising Justice Ali Baqir Najafi and Justice Sardar Ahmad Naeem set aside a few questions for the parties. 

In the first question the court asked if a convicted person can be removed from the Exit Control List (ECL). The second question asked whether it was possible that one-sided conditions be set for removing a person from the ECL.

The fourth question the court has put forward was whether the petitioners and the government can change their views on the indemnity bonds

The court also asked if the memorandum was issued on humanitarian grounds. It also asked whether anything can be separated in the memorandum. The bench also asked if the terms can also be separated.

To this, the Additional Attorney General Ishtiaq A Khan informed the court that the former prime minister can go abroad for treatment if he wants to.

On the other hand, Shehbaz’s counsel Pervaiz said that his client was in the room and would like to discuss the questions response with him.

To this, the court allowed a 15-minute recess so that the lawyer could speak to the PML-N president.

In yesterday's hearing, the LHC had dismissed the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and the federal government's stance challenging the maintainability of the plea and called it admissible.

'Our undertaking is with court of law'

Speaking to Geo News, Shehbaz asked the nation to pray for Nawaz’s health.

“Hopeful that the court’s decision will be in Nawaz’s favour,” Shehbaz said. “Praying the decision is in Nawaz’s favour so he can travel abroad for treatment.”

Separately Shehbaz’s counsel Amjad Pervaiz told Geo News that their undertaking is to the court of law and that they had given the undertaking’s copy to the additional attorney general.

"The court is yet to comment on the copy of the affidavit," Pervaiz said, adding that the former premier will return on the instructions of the doctors.

'Govt's stance on Nawaz's removal legally correct' 

Federal Minister for Science and Technology stated on Saturday that the government’s stance in the case pertaining to removing Nawaz’s name from ECL was legally correct.

The minister said in a tweet on Shehbaz Sharif’s draft of the affidavit submitted to the LHC. 

“In the undertaking Nawaz Sharif’s lawyers have assured that the former prime minister will not return,” Chaudhry tweeted.


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