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PML-N approached LHC for removal of Nawaz Sharif name from ECL

15 November, 2019

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The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) on Thursday approached the Lahore High Court (LHC) to request the removal of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s name from the no-fly list.

A two-member bench of the LHC headed by Justice Ali Baqar Najafi and including Justice Sardar Ahmad Naeem heard the PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif’s petition seeking removal of Nawaz’s name from the exit control list. The petition also asked that the court declare the condition for indemnity bond as illegal.

During the hearing, Nawaz’s counsel argued before the court that at the time of granting the bail, there were no conditions set upon the former prime minister. Following which, the court asked the attorney general to tell the court whether the fine imposed by the government was part of the accountability court’s verdict. “Does the ECL ordinance give the Centre authority to give permission for a one-time visit abroad?” asked the court.

PML-N lawyer Amjad Pervaiz told the court that Nawaz has been granted bail on medical grounds but federal government has still not removed his from the ECL. He said Nawaz had come back to Pakistan even leaving ill wife behind. He said court rulings are there ordering removal of those from the ECL who had entered into plea bargain with NAB. He appealed to the court to issue an order for removal of Nawaz’ name from the ECL.

The AG requested the court to grant him a one-day permission to respond in the case, following which the hearing was adjourned until Friday (today). The court has sought reply from the federal government and the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in the petition.

Separately, PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday rejected the government’s conditional decision to allow Nawaz Sharif to travel abroad for medical treatment, accusing the government of playing ‘dirty politics’ on the former prime minister’s health.

Addressing a press conference alongside the PML-N’s top leadership, he announced that the party’s legal team has approached the Lahore High Court against the government decision. He said the government by asking the PML-N to submit indemnity bonds to secure permission for Nawaz to travel abroad was, in fact, demanding ‘ransom’ and the decision was not acceptable to the PML-N in any condition. He said the ‘political game’ staged by Prime Minister Imran Khan and his team regarding the PML-N supremo’s health is condemnable. The prime minister can ‘neither give nor take an NRO [National Reconciliation Ordinance-like deal]’, he added.

Shehbaz asked the government whether Nawaz had submitted any indemnity or surety bonds when he had voluntarily returned to the country from London in July 2018 after he was sentenced to serve prison time by a trial court in the Avenfield reference. “And today when two high courts have granted him bail and said that he can avail treatment in Pakistan or abroad, the government is doing politics on the issue,” he said. “Renowned lawyers of the country have criticised the [government] decision,” he said.

“Nawaz Sharif’s health has been turned into a shuttlecock,” he said, adding that doctors of the government-formed medical board had clearly stated that Nawaz should be moved abroad for treatment not available in Pakistan. “The nation will not be able to tolerate if a mishap occurs due to the delay [in Nawaz travelling abroad,” the PML-N president stressed. He said unlike Nawaz, former military ruler Pervez Musharraf and Minister of State for Overseas Pakistanis Zulfi Bukhari were not asked to submit indemnity bonds before their names were taken off the no-fly list. He claimed that there was no legal basis for the government to demand indemnity bonds from the Sharif family because two of the cases against Nawaz – Avenfield and Al Azizia reference – in which fines were imposed on him have not attained finality while the third – Flashship Investments reference – was thrown out by the trial court. “Imran Khan I will hold you responsible if something happens to Nawaz Sharif due to this inordinate delay with a perverted mindset,” he said, addressing the prime minister.

“There is no example of dirty politics in the country’s history over the health of anyone,” he added, while accusing the government and other institutions of passing the buck to each other regarding deciding the matter.

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