ISLAMABAD: The government of Pakistan’s largest province of Punjab on Tuesday said it would not extend the duration of the medical bail granted to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif last October.
Sharif, 69, left Pakistan last year in an air ambulance to seek medical treatment in London, a month after the three-time premier was released on bail from a seven-year prison sentence for corruption.
Punjab Law Minister Basharat Raja told reporters that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party, which Sharif heads, had failed to share necessary updates on Sharif’s health with the government.
Responding to the Punjab government’s announcement, Sharif’s brother and former Punjab chief minister Shehbaz Sharif, who is also in London, said in a Twitter post that the move was “political revenge.”
پاکستان مسلم لیگ (ن) کے صدر اور قائد حزب اختلاف شہبازشریف کی نوازشریف کی ضمانت میں توسیع نہ دینے کے پنجاب حکومت کے فیصلے کی شدید مذمت اور اظہار افسوس
پنجاب حکومت کا فیصلہ حکمرانوں کی کم ظرفی اور سیاسی انتقام کا ثبوت ہے
— President PMLN (@president_pmln) February 25, 2020
Sharif’s third term as prime minister ran from 2013 to 2017, when he was removed by the Supreme Court amid revelations over his personal wealth.
Subsequently convicted of corruption, Sharif has consistently denied the accusations, claiming they were politically motivated.
On Oct. 25, Sharif was granted bail and given court clearance to leave the country for medical treatment. He left for London on November 19.
Even as the Punjab government refused to extend Sharif’s bail on Tuesday, two senior members of his party, former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and former interior minister Ahsan Iqbal, were released on bail by the Islamabad High Court.
Abbasi was arrested in July 2019 over alleged irregularities in a multibillion-rupee deal on liquified natural gas (LNG) imports from Qatar. Iqbal was arrested in December 2019 in a case involving the construction of a sports stadium.
Abbasi served as prime minister for about a year after Sharif was removed from office in July 2017 for failing to disclose his assets outside Pakistan. Iqbal has served as a minister under Sharif and Abbasi.
Both Abbasi and Iqbal are sitting members of the National Assembly, the lower house of parliament.