ISLAMABAD: Senate chairman Mohammad Sadiq Sanjrani on Thursday ruled that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif be immediately sent abroad for medical treatment.
After Senator Javed Abbasi, on a point of order during the proceedings in the house, rejected the government’s condition of submitting a surety bond of over Rs7 billion to get Mr Sharif’s name struck off the Exit Control List (ECL) as unconstitutional, illegal and immoral, the Senate chairman, through Leader of the House in Senate, Syed Shibli Faraz, and Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Azam Swati asked the government to provide all facilities to Mr Sharif concerning his health.
He also asked both sides to refrain from doing politics on the issue.
In his remarks, Mr Abbasi warned that negative traditions being set in politics would have dangerous consequences for the country. He said Mr Sharif was the only person who held the office of the prime minister thrice and that the Punjab Government’s Board had recommended that he be sent abroad for medical treatment in view of the serious threat to his life.
He said that according to the board, facility for certain necessary tests was not available in Pakistan.
Both sides urged to avoid doing politics on the issue
He said Mr Sharif was facing two cases in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) and Lahore High Court (LHC), respectively. In one case, he said, the sentence had been suspended by the IHC while in the other case, the LHC had granted him bail in view of his health condition.
Mr Abbasi said his name was on the ECL, but a sub-committee of the parliament headed by Law Minister Barrister Farogh Naseem had set a condition of submitting the surety bond.
“This has never happened in the history of the country. The ECL law has not been passed today,” he said, adding that only courts could ask for surety bonds and the same had already been submitted with two courts.
He recalled that Mr Sharif was in Abbottabad when the PTI chief Imran Khan had an accident. He said that on hearing about the news, Mr Sharif had cancelled all his engagements and gone to see Mr Khan.
He said that Mr Sharif did the same and rushed to see late Ms Benazir Bhutto after hearing the news that she had been injured in a bomb blast.
“Is this law only meant for Nawaz Sharif and Asif Ali Zardari? he questioned and asked the PTI government not to misuse its power. He alleged that two political parties — the PML-N and the PPP – were being targeted.
PPP parliamentary leader in the House Sherry Rehman endorsed Mr Abbasi’s viewpoint and said that condition of surety bond made one feel that the law of jungle was in vogue.
She also raised the issue of former president Asif Ali Zardari’s detention in jail for months without conviction and said the PPP leader had been taken hostage in the absence of any concrete charge.
Ms Rehman asked the government not to usurp the fundamental rights of a former president and said he must be given access to a private medical board. She said there were no political prisoners in the country when the PPP was in power.
Former information minister Pervez Rasheed criticised Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi for supporting tactics being used by the government to prevent Nawaz Sharif from going abroad for medical treatment.
In his speech, Raza Rabbani of the PPP criticised dual standards being applied in the country saying that former military ruler retired Gen Pervez Musharraf, who faced treason charges, had been allowed to proceed to Dubai for medical treatment, but later he was seen dancing in some video clips.
He regretted that Mr Sharif was being asked to submit the surety bond despite the fact that he had already submitted surety bonds with the courts.
Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen Mazari, while winding up the debate on imposition of curfew by in occupied Jammu & Kashmir, rejected the claim of opposition parties that the government was silent on the Kashmir issue and doing nothing to make it an international issue.
“A lot has been done and much is needed to be done on the matter in future,” she said, adding that the PTI government was the first whose narrative on the Kashmir issue had been heard internationally in a cohesive manner.
Published in Dawn, November 15th, 2019