Interior ministry issues notification allowing Nawaz to travel abroad

Updated November 18, 2019

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Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif has sought foreign medical assistance for an as yet unidentified illness. Photo: File
Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif has sought foreign medical assistance for an as yet unidentified illness. Photo: File

The interior ministry on Monday issued a notification to formally allow Nawaz Sharif to travel abroad for medical treatment, stating that the decision has been taken as an "interim arrangement" in light of the Lahore High Court's order in this regard.

In its notification, the ministry reproduced the undertakings provided by Shehbaz Sharif and Nawaz to the LHC in which the terms of their travel and return have been laid out.

The undertaking provided by Shehbaz includes a clause that states that the Pakistan High Commission will have the right to meet Nawaz's doctors to "verify or confirm about his health".

The LHC had on Saturday allowed the former premier to travel abroad for four weeks for medical treatment, saying the duration could be extended based on medical reports.

In a blow to the government, which had placed a condition of indemnity bonds for Nawaz's travel, the court had ordered the federal government to remove his name from the Exit Control List (ECL) without any conditions.

An air ambulance is expected to arrive in Lahore from Doha, Qatar on Tuesday morning to transport Nawaz to London. Arrangements in this regard have been made at Lahore airport's Haj Terminal.

Govt's one-time permission for medical care

On Wednesday, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government, after much deliberation, had granted a one-time permission to Nawaz for four weeks to travel abroad for his treatment provided he submitted indemnity bonds worth over Rs7.5 billion.

The condition was challenged in LHC by the PML-N legal team, on behalf of the former premier, on Thursday and was taken up by the two-member bench on the same day.

On Saturday, the LHC allowed Nawaz to travel abroad initially for a period of four weeks, extendable on the basis of medical reports.

Nawaz, who was diagnosed with an immune system disorder, has been advised to go abroad for medical treatment. The former premier is convicted in two corruption cases and is a suspect in another.

The former prime minister was rushed from Kot Lakhpat jail to the hospital last month after his personal physician raised an alarm over his deteriorating health. Following this, Shehbaz had submitted a request to the interior ministry as well as the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for the removal of Nawaz's name from the ECL so that the former prime minister could travel abroad for medical treatment.

Nawaz, who was incarcerated after an accountability court found him guilty in the Al Azizia corruption reference, was granted bail by the Islamabad High Court on humanitarian grounds. He also obtained bail in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills case, in which he is a suspect, from the LHC.