Punjab govt decides not to extend Nawaz's bail, forwards recommendation to Centre

Updated February 25, 2020

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Punjab Law Minister Raja Basharat addresses a press conference  alongside provincial health minister Dr Yasmin Rashid and information minister Fayyazul Hassan Chohan.  — Photo courtesy Radio Pakistan
Punjab Law Minister Raja Basharat addresses a press conference alongside provincial health minister Dr Yasmin Rashid and information minister Fayyazul Hassan Chohan. — Photo courtesy Radio Pakistan

Punjab Law Minister Raja Basharat on Tuesday said the provincial cabinet had decided not to further extend the bail granted on medical grounds to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, who is currently in London for treatment.

Addressing a press conference alongside other members of the Punjab cabinet, including provincial health minister Dr Yasmin Rashid and information minister Fayyazul Hassan Chohan, Basharat said: "The committee has decided that Nawaz Sharif's bail can't be extended further."

He explained that the initial court order said the former premier was granted bail for eight weeks by the Islamabad High Court on October 29, 2019, but said that "a further eight weeks had passed since then as discussions were underway".

"Till a decision by the Punjab government, this bail was to be automatically extended, therefore it was extended for 16 weeks," he said.

After the passage of 16 weeks, Basharat said the provincial government wanted to be informed about developments regarding Nawaz's health on the basis of which a decision to extend his bail could be made.

Earlier, the IHC had directed Nawaz to seek the Punjab government’s permission for further relief if required.

"Till today he (Nawaz) has not been admitted in any hospital in London," Basharat said today, adding that nothing specific had been shared with the government regarding the PML-N supremo's health and the matter had been "lingering on".

He said the Punjab cabinet had decided that there was "no legal, moral or medical basis without any concrete proof" for further extension of Nawaz's bail.

Basharat said the Punjab government would now share its decision with the federal government, which will decide upon the matter.

Following the Punjab government's announcement, PML-N senior leader Rana Sanaullah said they will challenge the decision in the high court following discussions.

Extension in Nawaz's time abroad

Amid bickering between the ruling PTI and PML-N, Nawaz reached London for medical treatment on November 19, 2019.

Nawaz was granted bail by the IHC on humanitarian grounds in the Al Azizia case. He also obtained bail in the ongoing Chaudhry Sugar Mills case, in which he is a suspect, from the Lahore High Court.

On December 23, he sought an extension in his stay abroad on the expiry of the four-week period granted by the LHC. Following his request, the Punjab government constituted a four-member committee to decide on it and sought fresh medical reports to make an "informed decision".

In January, a picture of Nawaz at a London restaurant along with some members of his family had surfaced on social media, raising questions about the condition of the former premier's health. Following this, on January 15, the Punjab government had rejected Nawaz's medical reports which had been submitted on December 23.

Once again on January 30, the Punjab government asked Nawaz to submit fresh medical reports so that a decision on his request seeking more time abroad could be made.


Additional reporting by Nadir Guramani