Nawaz Sharif ECL issue: Law Minister chairs sub-committee meet

Islamabad: After Nawaz Sharif has refused to leave the country on the government’s conditions, Pakistan cabinet’s subcommittee on Wednesday held a meeting to finalise its recommendations on the issue of removing former prime minister name from the no-fly list.

Law Minister is heading the meeting, Dawn reported.

Former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has refused to travel abroad for his medical treatment under the conditions proposed by the government, one of which demands of him to deposit surety bonds amounting to PKR 7 billion before leaving the country.

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After marathon meetings of the federal cabinet and its sub-committee on Tuesday, Nawaz had refused to travel abroad for his medical treatment under the conditions proposed by the government. The government had asked that the PML-N supremo’s brother Shehbaz Sharif or his daughter Maryam submit on his behalf surety bonds equivalent to the fines imposed on him in the two corruption cases — Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Avenfield properties.

But the deadlock hampering the former premier’s chances of travelling abroad for medical treatment persisted as PML-N refused to submit the surety bonds. Speaking to reporters after the meeting yesterday, PML-N leader Ataullah Tarar said the party had already submitted surety bonds in the Lahore and Islamabad high courts to secure Nawaz’s bail and that the issue of Nawaz’s medical treatment was already discussed in the courts.

A PML-N insider told Dawn in Lahore that the government’s ‘conditions’ were brought to the knowledge of Sharif by his younger brother and PML-L President Shahbaz Sharif.

“Nawaz Sharif said these demands or conditions are illegal and can’t be met in the presence of court guarantees (which have) already (been) submitted to it (the court) with regard to his bail,” the insider said.

Imran Khan-led government on Tuesday held a marathon meeting to allow the ailing Nawaz Sharif to allow him to fly to London for treatment.

Party spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb refuted reports that PML-N had decided to boycott the sub-committee meeting, clarifying that they had never been invited to attend it.Separately, in a statement issued today, Aurangzeb said that the government’s delay in removing Nawaz’s name from the ECL was causing a delay in the arrival of an air ambulance to transport the former premier abroad.

“Making Nawaz’s departure abroad conditional is unconstitutional,” she said, adding that the government was playing a “dangerous game” with Nawaz’s health.

Unable to reach a decision after a subcommittee meeting, Prime Minister Imran Khan held a cabinet meeting late yesterday and granted “conditional” approval for Sharif to travel abroad for medical treatment on the assurance that he signs surety bonds and commits to return after his treatment and face charges against him.

Addressing a news conference after the cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan, the government’s chief spokesperson Firdous Ashiq Awan said that about “85-90 per cent” participants of the meeting were of the opinion that Sharif should be allowed to go abroad for medical treatment provided he meets certain conditions.

The party insider said that Sharif expressed his annoyance over the government’s “tricks” on the matter.

Sharif was expected to leave Pakistan on Sunday. However, his ticket was cancelled as the authorities did not remove his name from the Exit Control List.

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