PML-N rules out Nawaz return till full recovery

Published August 7, 2021
This file photo shows former prime minister Nawaz Sharif (Centre). — AFP/File
This file photo shows former prime minister Nawaz Sharif (Centre). — AFP/File

• Shehbaz says he can legally stay in London till tribunal’s ruling on appeal
• Ex-PM won’t seek asylum in UK
• Minister advises ‘fugitive’ to return home

LAHORE / ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz president Shehbaz Sharif has ruled out the return of ex-premier and party supremo Nawaz Sharif to the country until his ‘full recovery’, asserting that he can legally stay in the UK till the British immigration tribunal decides his appeal against home department’s refusal to extend his visa.

While PML-N Information Secretary Marriyum Aurangzeb, who backed the party president’s stance, claimed that the ex-premier would not seek political asylum in the UK, State Minister for Information Farrukh Habib told a presser that the ‘fugitive’ and ‘absconder’ had been living in London with an expired Pakistani passport and the PML-N leadership had lost its sleep after the UK refused to extend visa on medical grounds.

In a statement issued on Friday, Mr Shehbaz, the opposition leader in the National Assembly, said the Imran government had allowed Mr Sharif to leave Pakistan for treatment based on the reports of the government’s own medical board. “It is inhuman to do politics on the health of a three-time premier. The government machinery is bent upon defaming Nawaz Sharif for its politics, which is earning a bad name to the country,” he said.

About his elder brother’s return to the country, Mr Shehbaz said: “Nawaz Sharif will only return to Pakistan when he fully recovers and doctors in London allow him to travel (back to the country).” He added that he could legally stay in the UK till the decision on his appeal regarding visa extension.

The appeal was filed before the immigration tribunal on Thursday.

Maryam’s tweet

PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz said the visa issue had again proved how her father was on the nerves of the PTI government members. “This fake government has accepted its defeat from Nawaz Sharif who is the present and future of Pakistan. By targeting a towering personality, the stature of a pygmy cannot be elevated,” she tweeted.

The request for extension in stay was filed with the UK home department on medical grounds on the advice of his doctors. “This is a routine procedure for anyone who seeks to extend their stay in UK and Nawaz has the right to an appeal in the Immigration Tribunal,” said party information secretary Marriyum Aurangzeb while addressing the media outside Parliament Lodges.

His health had deteriorated while being in “NAB-Niazi alliance custody”, she said, insisting that the medical reports and tribunals had said they could not treat Nawaz’s ailment in Pakistan.

“Even Imran Khan had verified all these fact after the inspection of doctors from his trusted Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital. The provincial and federal governments sent Nawaz Sharif abroad for treatment after fulfilling all legal requirements,” she said.

She asserted that the party supremo would not seek political asylum in the UK, as he could legally stay in Britain till the immigration tribunal decision on the appeal. She claimed that many PML-N leaders were kept in death-row cells, harassed and mentally tortured but the PTI government could not prove corruption allegation against them.

Red flag shown

Flanked by Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Youth Affairs Mohammad Usman Dar at the launch of digital dashboard of Kamyab Jawan Programme, State Minister for Information Farrukh Habib said: “The red flag is now in the air for Nawaz Sharif in the country where he had bought palatial Avenfield Apartments from the looted national wealth, which he had laundered from Pakistan.”

“You [Nawaz] have eaten enough pizzas and watched polo matches in London, besides having many cups of coffees and visits to Hyde Park. Now it is time to return home,” he said.

He said the PML-N leaders were setting new records of telling lies in public. It was the hallmark of their politics that could be traced back to the Qatari letter and fake trust deed the defence counsel produced in court, he added.

The minister reminded the people that Nawaz Sharif did not come to Pakistan even though his personal physician, Dr Adnan, had already returned from London.

If Prime Minister Imran Khan had doubts about the medical board reports that had allowed ex-premier to proceed abroad for treatment in November 2019, he should sack his health lieutenants, Dr Faisal Sultan and Dr Yasmin Rashid, or better step down himself for allowing him to travel, said PML-N Punjab information secretary Azma Bokhari.

Addressing a presser along with deputy secretary general of the party Attaullah Tarar in Lahore, Ms Bokhari castigated the government spokespersons for politicising their leader’s health.

“Nawaz Sharif has become a symbol of fear for the selected PTI government. After learning that the UK home department refused extension in the visa of Mr Sharif, the government is confused whether to celebrate the news or mourn. Not a single day passes when the Imran Niazi government does not remember him [Nawaz],” Mr Tarar claimed.

Published in Dawn, August 7th, 2021

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