ISLAMABAD: Attorney General Anwar Mansoor Khan has said that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his family have been given “too much relief by the system” even though ordinary people and those from the privileged classes should be treated equally.
“This case was not decided on merit and the court will take into consideration this issue at the time of announcing the (final) verdict,” he said on Saturday while addressing a press conference along with Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan.
The attorney general had been asked whether or not relief (similar to the one granted to Mr Sharif) would be given to ordinary prisoners, allowing them to be treated by doctors at their homes.
Mr Khan said: “I believe that Nawaz Sharif and his family have enjoyed too much relief; we want equal treatment for all.”
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He, however, added that after a written order of the court would be received, only the federal cabinet would have the power to decide if an appeal against it should be filed.
The attorney general said the difference between the ‘indemnity bond’ and the ‘undertaking’ that were sought from the Sharif family was that the former was to be submitted to the government while the latter document was submitted to the court.
“The government never opposed Nawaz Sharif’s travel abroad on medical grounds, but we needed some legal grounds as the name of any convict cannot be removed from the ECL (Exit Control List) under the rules,” he said.
Mr Khan said that being the competent authority the cabinet had already approved a one-time amendment to the rules.
“The Rs7 billion bond was required as the court has imposed fines and penalties of this amount upon him, and it was to be submitted to the government,” he said, “whereas the undertaking was submitted to the high court.”
The attorney general said if the Sharif family did not honour its commitments, there could be serious consequences, including invoking of Article 61, for lying to the court.
He said that soon after the court order would be received, the federal cabinet would review it and hopefully forward it to interior ministry so that Mr Sharif was given the permission to proceed abroad.
He added that the court had issued an interim order and the detailed order was expected to be given during the next hearing in the case.
Apart from criticising the opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, Dr Awan said that Mr Sharif’s case did not involve political issues but rather some legal matters.
“The government has always looked upon this matter as a humanitarian issue, but it’s unfortunate that the PML-N has been exploiting the situation not only to defame the government but also to deceive the masses,” she said.
The government’s spokesperson was of the opinion that the Sharif family had “a history of dodging and cheating” the nation and had not honoured their earlier deal. She was referring to their deal with former military ruler Gen Pervez Musharraf.
Dr Awan assailed the precedents being created by the opposition party.
Published in Dawn, November 17th, 2019