Pakistan court allows ailing ex-pm Sharif to travel abroad for treatment

Nawaz Sharif can travel abroad (London) and stay there for four weeks. Extension to his stay is subject to his medical reports, Lahore HC order said. Sharif is serving sentence in corruption cases

A file photo of former Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif.
A file photo of former Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif.

PTI

Pakistan's ailing former prime minister Nawaz Sharif is all set to leave for London after the Lahore High Court on Saturday allowed him to travel abroad for four weeks for medical treatment.

The four-week duration can be extended further on his doctors' recommendations, according to the court order.

Sharif, 69, is suffering from multiple health complications, including erratic platelet count, and is currently being treated at his residence near Lahore where an ICU has been set up.

A two-member bench of the Lahore High Court (LHC) headed by Justice Baqar Najfi announced the verdict after a marathon hearing of more than six hours.

"Nawaz Sharif can travel abroad (London) and stay there for four weeks. Extension to his stay is subject to his medical reports," a short order of the LHC said.

It has ordered the Imran Khan government to remove his name from the no-fly list or the Exit Control List (ECL).

On Wednesday, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government granted a one-time permission to Sharif for four weeks to travel abroad for his treatment provided he submitted indemnity bonds worth over Rs 7.5 billion.

On Thursday, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo challenged the condition in the LHC, terming it "illegal".

The PML-N said that "every hour is important for the health of the three-time premier and if anything happens to him because of this delay, Prime Minister Imran Khan will be responsible".

Sharif refused to submit indemnity bonds, saying it was a trap of Khan to use them for his political gains.

"After the court's verdict, Nawaz Sharif is likely to leave for London in a couple of days," a PML-N leader told PTI.

Sharif's son Hussain Nawaz has arranged the air ambulance and it is likely to arrive in Lahore on Sunday, he said, adding Sharif's condition is very critical and he has to go to London for diagnosis and treatment of his disease.

His brother Shahbaz Sharif hailed the court's decision, saying "the prayers of my mother, the nation and supporters have been answered".

Shahbaz has signed an undertaking in the LHC pledging, "I will ensure the return of my brother within four weeks or on certification by doctors that he has regained his health and is fit to return back to Pakistan. I will provide the periodical medical report of the doctor duly notarised by the embassy (in London) to the registrar of this court".

He further said: "I also undertake that if at any stage, the federal government has credible information that Nawaz Sharif is living abroad despite his fitness to travel, a representative from Pakistan's High Commission would have a right to meet with his physician(s) to verify or confirm about his health".

Shahbaz said Prime Minister Khan Niazi did "dirty politics" on the health of hsi brother. Khan's attitude caused delay in his travel to London for his treatment.

According to the PML-N, doctors recently gave Sharif high dose of steroids thrice for his expected travel abroad which may have negative effects on his health, and all this has gone in vain because of the government.

Sharif recently secured eight weeks bail on medical grounds from the Islamabad High Court in the Al-Azizia Mills corruption case in which he was serving seven years imprisonment. He also got bail from the LHC in the money laundering case.

He agreed to go to the UK for treatment, heeding doctors' advice and accepting his family's request. He was scheduled to leave for London on a Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight on Sunday. However, he could not leave as his name figured in the no fly-list.

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