LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Saturday ordered the government to remove former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s name from the country’s exit control list for four weeks with no conditions attached. Shahbaz Sharif, president of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), filed a petition on Friday challenging the government to allow Nawaz Sharif to travel abroad for medical treatment.
A two-member bench comprising Justice Ali Baqar Najfi and Justice Sardar Ahmad Naeem heard the case and prepared a draft of Shahbaz’s undertaking to guarantee his brother’s return, ensuring permission to travel would not be used to engineer a second exile.
Shahbaz Sharif’s lawyer, Ashtar Ausaf, told local media that the draft had been accepted by the party.
Nawaz Sharif, 69, who has held the country’s top political office three times, is serving a seven-year sentence on corruption charges and was granted bail on health grounds.
The government approved his request to allow him to seek treatment abroad, but with a 7 billion rupee ($45.2 million) bond specifying his date of return — conditions that he rejected.
Shahbaz said the government’s conditional approval was an “intentional delay” with “no legal, constitutional or judicial basis.”
Addressing reporters in Lahore, Shahbaz said that the government’s “terrible demand” could be life-threatening to the ailing former premier whose health was rapidly deteriorating.
Law Minister Farogh Naseem said on Wednesday that the government’s approval “will be a one-time permission” and that “Sharif will be allowed to go anywhere in the world but will have to return in four weeks.”
Permission was granted to fulfill the government’s obligation in view of the former prime minister’s “critical medical condition,” he said.
PML-N Chairman Raja Zafrul Haq told Arab News that the government is admitting that Sharif is seriously ill, but is also creating hurdles to stop him traveling abroad for treatment.
“The court has granted him an eight-week bail, but the government is reducing that to four weeks and imposing an irrational condition. It is to be condemned and we strongly protest this decision,” he said.