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Tuesday Nov 24 2020

Punjab allows Shahbaz, Hamza to be released on parole ahead of Begum Shamim Akhtar's funeral

LAHORE: PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif and his son, Hamza, would be released on a five-day parole ahead of the funeral of the former Punjab chief minister's mother, Begum Shamim Akhtar, Geo News reported on Tuesday.

According to sources at the Ministry of Interior, Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar had earlier sent a request for the temporary release of Shahbaz Sharif and Hamza Shahbaz to the provincial cabinet for approval.

The PML-N had submitted a request for a 14-day release on parole to the Deputy Commissioner Lahore, who has the power to approve the release for 8-10 hours.

Read more: Nawaz Sharif not to accompany mother's body to Pakistan due to health issues

The sources revealed to Geo News that a draft was prepared for the release on parole for five days.

The parole-based release would come into effect once the body reaches Pakistan after clearance from the Westminster Magistrates' Court coroner and confirmation from London — expected in a few days.

Sources had confirmed to Geo News that a draft summary was prepared for their release on parole for five days. With the cabinet's approval, the PML-N president and his son would be let out of jail on parole to attend the funeral of Nawaz Sharif's mother, Begum Shamim Akhtar, a day before the body arrives in Pakistan.

'Deliberately politicising the issue'

Earlier today, Information and Broadcasting Minister Shibli Faraz clarified that the federal government had placed no restrictions on Nawaz Sharif or his family members and that they could attend the funeral of Begum Shamim Akhtar.

Faraz had said Nawaz, his sons Hassan and Hussain, and former finance minister Ishaq Dar were free to return to Pakistan but warned them against politicising the matter.

Related: Shibli Faraz says no restrictions on Nawaz Sharif, family to attend Begum Shamim's funeral

"They can visit [Pakistan] and attend the funeral of late Begum Shamim Akhtar and get sawab-e-darain [reward]," the federal minister had said on Twitter.

"The propaganda of state repression is deliberately politicising the issue.

"Who are you fooling," Faraz had asked rhetorically.

Punjab Minister for Prisons Fayyaz ul Hassan Chohan had earlier today said a decision on the PML-N father-son duo's release would be made once a date was confirmed for the body to be repatriated to Pakistan.

"At this tragic time, we stand with Nawaz Sharif, Shahbaz Sharif, and Hamza Shahbaz. We are not engaging — and will not engage — in any sort of politics on this matter," Chohan had said.

"We will fully and completely accommodate them and will cooperate for them to fulfill all religious, traditional, and familial funeral and burial rites," the provincial minister had added.

Clearance from London coroner awaited

Begum Shamim had passed away aged 89 on Sunday. She had developed a severe chest infection and was suffering from an advanced stage of Alzheimer's disease.

The condition of Nawaz Sharif's mother had deteriorated a week before her death and she was unable to regain her health due to her old age.

Begum Shamim Akhtar was under treatment at a London hospital and her body was kept at the Avenfield Apartments where she was staying with her son.

Also read: Participants at Begum Shamim Akhtar's funeral at London mosque limited to 30 under COVID-19 rules

The body had been transferred to the London Central Mosque's mortuary late Sunday night after the coroner and local police spent about three hours at the Sharif family's apartment to complete paperwork to determine the cause of death and other legal requirements.

As per the United Kingdom's coronavirus guidelines, the number of participants at the funeral is limited to 30.

The Sharif family was also waiting for a repatriation clearance from the Westminster Magistrates' Court coroner in order for the body of Nawaz Sharif’s mother to be taken to Pakistan for burial in Jati Umrah.


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