Information Minister Shibli Faraz on Tuesday said there were no restrictions in place on former premier Nawaz Sharif, his sons and former finance minister Ishaq Dar barring them from coming to Pakistan to attend the funeral of the PML-N supremo's mother.
Nawaz and Shehbaz Sharif's mother, Begum Shamim Akhtar, passed away in London on November 22. She was in her 90s and had been unwell for a month or so, sources in the party had said, adding that she had also twice visited a hospital in London for a check-up.
Arrangements are being made to bring her dead body back to Lahore within a couple of days to be buried next to the grave of her husband, Mian Sharif, at the family’s Jati Umra estate.
"They are welcome to come to Pakistan and attend the funeral," Faraz said in a tweet on Tuesday, warning the opposition of trying to politicise the matter.
"The narrative of state suppression is deliberate propaganda and an attempt to politicise this issue. Who are you trying to fool?"
On Monday, the PML-N sought at least a two-week parole for party president Shehbaz and his son Hamza to participate in the last rites of Begum Shamim. Both Shehbaz and Hamza are in Kot Lakhpat jail on judicial remand in a money laundering and assets beyond means case.
In an application to the Lahore deputy commissioner, PML-N Deputy Secretary General Attaullah Tarar said both Shehbaz and Hamza were leaders of the opposition in the National and Punjab assemblies.
He sought their release on parole for a period of at least two weeks to receive condolences and participate in Begum Akhtar’s last rites at their Model Town and Jati Umra residences.
Meanwhile, the Lahore DC office said it had received the PML-N’s application but that it did not confirm when the body of Shehbaz and Nawaz's mother would land in Lahore.
Deputy Commissioner Mudassar Riaz Malik told Dawn that his office could allow release of prisoners for 12 hours and that would only be possible when the exact timing of the arrival of the body was known. He said his office had already contacted police and jail officials for their report on the subject.
Begum Shamim had travelled to the United Kingdom in February against the advice of her doctors to see her ailing son, Nawaz, who is being treated for heart and kidney ailments in the United Kingdom.
Both Nawaz and Shehbaz could not attend the last rites of their father back in October 2004 as they were in exile in Jeddah and had rejected a conditional offer by then military dictator Pervez Musharraf in this respect.
However, Nawaz's daughter, PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz, has urged her father to stay back until his treatment is completed.
"I have requested Mian Saheb that he must not return. They are cruel people blind by vendetta from whom no humanity could be expected," she said in a tweet after receiving news of her grandmother's passing.
Nawaz, who was serving a seven-year jail term in a corruption case, had left for London in November last year after the Lahore High Court gave him four-week permission to seek treatment abroad.
He had given an undertaking to the court that he would return home within four weeks or as soon as doctors declared him fit to travel.