The PML-N leadership on Saturday urged party supremo and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif to remain in the United Kingdom until his medical treatment is completed and his doctors grant him a "certificate of fitness", allowing him to return to Pakistan.
Addressing a press conference alongside other PML-N leaders, Ahsan Iqbal said that Nawaz was "not only an asset for his party but for the nation as well", therefore there could be "no compromise" when it came to his life and health.
The PML-N's presser came a few days after the Islamabad High Court (IHC) told Nawaz that it was giving him a chance to "surrender" and appear before the court at the next hearing scheduled for September 10.
An IHC division bench comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani made the remarks while hearing the appeals of Nawaz, his daughter Maryam and her husband, Safdar, against their convictions in the Avenfield reference.
During the hearing, Justice Farooq said that the court was not declaring Nawaz an absconder and was giving him "one more chance to surrender".
Iqbal expressed the hope that the judiciary would take into consideration that the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic had occurred soon after Nawaz left for the UK and health services and treatments worldwide had been disrupted as a result.
"The delay in health services and treatment affected not only Nawaz Sharif but all other patients [as well]. We hope the judiciary will take this into consideration."
Iqbal added that Nawaz had "set an example not seen previously in Pakistan's history" by leaving his ailing wife Kulsoom Nawaz and returning to Pakistan in 2018 to "follow the law".
"This is why any discussion on [Nawaz's health] is dismissive of his example and an insult to humanity," he said.
Criticising PTI government members for "conjecturing" about Nawaz's health, he said they had done the same when Kulsoom was ill. "They used to make irresponsible statements regarding Kulsoom Nawaz's health and were not even ashamed later".
"This is a very serious matter and cannot be decided on talk shows. Nawaz Sharif is our asset and the nation's asset and no compromise on his health and life can be made," Iqbal added.
"He was granted permission to leave for treatment. He did not go for an excursion which is why he will return when his doctors decide he is healthy and fit to return. Our legal team will proceed according to the law," he said.
"[PML-N workers] request him to complete his treatment [...] When his doctors tell him he is fit to go, he will come back without any delay."
Responding to a question about the multiparty conference (MPC) due to be held by the opposition, Iqbal said that the meeting of the Rehbar Committee had decided it would be held on September 20.
"The MPC session will be called during a session of the National Assembly and further discussion [on all parties' agenda] will be held then," he added.