LAHORE: Despite request by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to put their names on the Exit Control List (ECL), former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz will leave for London on Thursday (today) to see Begum Kulsoom Nawaz, according to sources.

The two members of the Sharif family would not be stopped from proceeding to London under the existing political situation, a source told Dawn. “Like the Pakistan Muslim League-N government, the caretaker government has neither rejected nor accepted the NAB request so far,” he said.

The two PML-N leaders have booked their seats on the London-bound flight of a private airline, the source added.

When contacted, a spokesperson for the PML-N confirmed that the two leaders were set to leave for the UK capital. “Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz are leaving for London on Thursday and will return after a week’s stay,” said Marriyum Aurangzeb.

The former information minister said the PML-N’s supreme leader and his daughter would “surely return” to the country, unlike the military ruler who had trampled upon the Constitution twice.

“People should be equal in the eyes of law,” she remarked and said her party wanted to know how the name of Imran Khan’s friend Zulfiqar Bukhari had been removed from the ECL. “Does Imran Khan have a magic wand?”

Earlier in the day, Maryam Nawaz expressed the hope that she would be spending Eidul Fitr with her ailing mother.

Talking to reporters after the scrutiny of her nomination papers, she said: “I will hopefully spend Eid with my mother. Her radiotherapy has been completed and the doctors will re-examine her on June 17.”

In response to a question about possibility of delay in general elections, she said: “To think of delay in the elections is an insult to the people of Pakistan. Nawaz Sharif is fighting to defeat this mindset. If elections are delayed the situation in the country may not remain in control of anyone.”

Meanwhile, the NAB has not just requested the interior ministry to put the names of former premier and his daughter on the ECL, but also those of his two sons and son-in-law because they are being tried in an accountability court.

In a recent letter, the bureau said: “This matter is agitated again in view of the fact that references against the accused persons are in the final stages of trial. There is apprehension that they may leave the country to avoid legal outcome of the judgement which is expected to be announced shortly.”

The bureau also asked the ministry to put the name of former finance minister Ishaq Dar on the ECL and initiate the process to bring him back to the country as well as the two sons of Mr Sharif (Hassan and Hussain Nawaz) through the Interpol.

On Feb 14, NAB had sent a similar letter to the ministry, but the then government did not place the Sharifs’ names on the ECL. The government reportedly declined the request on the grounds that names could only be included in the no-fly list on a court’s order.

Published in Dawn, June 14th, 2018



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