ISLAMABAD: The federal government has sent a letter to the UK authorities, asking them to deport former prime minister Nawaz Sharif to Pakistan, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan confirmed, a few days after the Punjab government decided not to extend his bail.
Briefing the media on the cabinet’s meeting held earlier, Firdous said that a “letter to bring a foreigner back home has been sent”, referring to Nawaz, who was allowed by the Islamabad High Court to go abroad for medical treatment last year.
Firdous said that based on Shehbaz Sharif’s reaction, it seemed that the letter written by the Foreign Ministry had arrived in the UK. She said that sending the letter to the UK authorities was necessary to fulfil legal requirements. A couple of days ago, Firdous had said that the government had decided to write to UK authorities to deport the former prime minister. She had accused the PML-N of not providing the Punjab government with updated medical reports of the PML-N chief.
“It has been 105 days since Nawaz left the country. During this time, he has not sent any reports regarding an improvement in his health, nor has he been admitted to any hospital. This means that you have misused the facility [that was extended to you]. “The medical board asks you to give medical reports but you send letters and certificates instead. There is a difference between a report and a letter,” she maintained.
In November last year, Nawaz had left for London, 20 days after he was released on bail from a seven-year sentence for corruption. On December 23, he had sought an extension in his stay abroad on the expiry of the four-week period granted by the Lahore High Court. Following his request, the Punjab government had constituted a four-member committee to decide the matter and had sought fresh medical reports to make an “informed decision”. In January, a picture of Nawaz at a London restaurant along with some members of his family had surfaced on social media, raising questions about the condition of the former premier’s health. Following this, on January 15, the Punjab government had rejected Nawaz’s medical reports which had been submitted on December 23.
Once again on January 30, the Punjab government had asked Nawaz to submit fresh medical reports so that a decision on his request seeking more time abroad could be made. On February 25, the Punjab cabinet had decided not to further extend Nawaz’s bail.
“Nawaz Sharif did not provide his medical reports to the Punjab government and time has now come that he should be brought back,” she had said during an event in Sialkot.
Referring to a photo that had surfaced on social media of the former premier at a cafe in London, the PM’s aide stated, “This indicates that you did not fulfil the reason for which you were allowed to travel abroad.”
She added that Nawaz was misleading the PML-N party workers. “We pity them because you have, once again, abandoned them.” She stated that the same board that had allowed Nawaz to travel abroad was now saying that the recent paperwork submitted showed that he was well. “On the recommendations of the same board, the federal government has decided to bring Nawaz back to the country,” she said. Firdous also blamed a section of the media for creating an environment and portraying as if the former prime minister’s health was in danger if he was not allowed to leave the country.
The PML-N, on the other hand, maintained that Nawaz’s medical reports had been sent to the Punjab government. The party accused the government of resorting to political revenge.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi also said that the written for Nawaz’s repatriation had been despatched to the British authorities.