Pakistan to let ex-PM Sharif go abroad for medical treatment – foreign minister

In this file photo, Pakistan's ailing former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, center, enters a car as he leaves the Supreme Court following the shrine land case hearing in Islamabad on Dec. 4, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 08 November 2019

Pakistan to let ex-PM Sharif go abroad for medical treatment – foreign minister

  • Prime Minister Imran Khan has said everything possible should be done to show Sharif’s life is protected, says FM Qureshi
  • Sharif has dominated Pakistani politics for three decades and denies corruption charges against him

LAHORE: Pakistan will allow Nawaz Sharif to leave the country for medical treatment in the United Kingdom, its foreign minister said on Thursday, though he warned the former prime minister against seeking a second period of exile to escape corruption charges.
“Doctors are recommending that he perhaps needs to go abroad for further examination,” foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told Reuters in an interview.
“If that is what the medical treatment requires, the government has been positive. The prime minister has said everything possible should be done to show his life is protected.”
Three-time PM Sharif, 69, was released on bail last month from a seven-year sentence for corruption after repeated medical issues.
Sharif, who has dominated Pakistani politics for three decades, denies the corruption charges, claiming they are politically motivated.
He previously lived in exile in Saudi Arabia for seven years after being toppled by the Pakistan military in 2000, though Qureshi urged Sharif to return to complete his sentence.
“If their hands are clean, why should they be running away?” he said of the possibility Sharif may seek a second period of exile.
“I hope he recovers. When he recovers, why should he be sticking around in London? There’s no logic, there’s no reason for that.”
Sharif’s party, the main opposition Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), declined to comment on Qureshi’s remarks.
But two senior party figures who declined to be named said it was now likely that Sharif would travel abroad for treatment, adding that he would not seek exile for a second time.


Pakistani jailed for Dutch anti-Islam MP murder plot

Updated 18 November 2019

Pakistani jailed for Dutch anti-Islam MP murder plot

  • A Dutch court found the 27-year-old guilty of ‘planning a murder with a terrorist motive’
  • The judge added four years in jail to the six years sought by the prosecution

THE HAGUE: A Dutch court sentenced a Pakistani man to 10 years behind bars Monday for planning to assassinate a politician Geert Wilders after the MP announced an anti-Islam cartoon competition.
The man, identified as Junaid I. by local media, was arrested in August 2018 at a train station in The Hague after he posted a film on Facebook in which he said he wanted to “send Wilders to hell” and urged others to help.
Judges at The Hague’s district court found the 27-year-old man, who had traveled from France, guilty of “planning a murder with a terrorist motive” and “incitement to commit a terrorist deed.”
“The suspect more than once said that Wilders’ death would be a good deed,” said presiding judge Jan van Steen, who added four years in jail to the six years sought by the prosecution.
“Furthermore, the suspect wanted to commit the murder in one of the parliamentary buildings, the heart of Dutch democracy,” Van Steen said, adding “the court is alarmed that the suspect... declared that this case will boost his image in Pakistan.”
The suspect had denied any terror-related motives.
He said during the trial that he was “peace-loving” and had only traveled to the Netherlands from France to protest against Wilders’ cartoon competition.
The Facebook video was seen by more than 153,000 people and shared 14,000 times.
Far-right leader Wilders canceled his plans two days later to stage a cartoon competition against the Prophet of Islam, a move that angered many Muslims, particularly in Pakistan where protests were led by the hard-line Islamist Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan party.
Wilders, 56, known for his peroxide bouffant hairdo and firebrand anti-immigration and anti-Islamist statements, lives in a safe house and has been granted 24-hour protection by the Dutch state.
The court did not say how Junaid I. planned to kill Wilders but found that in a bugged phone call after his arrest he said he took “specific things with him... without which his mission would not be complete.”
He had also walked round with a “large backpack, which he did not have when he was arrested” and lied about what it contained, the judges said.
A day after Wilders announced the cancelation, an Afghan man stabbed two American tourists at Amsterdam’s main train station. The man, who said he wanted to “protect the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH),” was last month sentenced to 26 years in jail.