LHC takes up hearing of Sharif's unconditional travel permission

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FILE PHOTO: Ousted Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif gestures as he boards a Lahore-bound flight due for departure, at Abu Dhabi International Airport, UAE July 13, 2018. (Reuters)
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Supporters of Pakistan's former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif pray for health of their leader outside a hospital where Sharif is admitted, in Lahore on Oct. 26, 2019. (AP/File)
Updated 16 November 2019

LHC takes up hearing of Sharif's unconditional travel permission

  • Government demanded Sharif to pay a Rs.7 bn surety bond
  • Former premier's health requires urgent medical treatment abroad, doctor says

ISLAMABAD: A political dogfight in Pakistan is delaying efforts to secure treatment overseas for ailing ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif, whose health remains “critical” according to his doctor on Friday.
Pakistani courts have granted bail to Sharif — who is serving a prison sentence for corruption — so that he may seek treatment and Islamabad had previously said it would not block requests to remove him from a travel ban list.
This week, however, the government of Sharif’s rival Imran Khan added a condition to his travel, saying he must pay a bond of seven billion Pakistani rupees ($45 million) — which Sharif’s party, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), immediately rejected.
“Former PM #NawazSharif’s health status remains critical,” his doctor Adnan Khan tweeted Friday. “The delay could’ve serious adverse health & life consequences.”
“We... want to make it clear that, God forbid, if something happens to Sharif, the party will hold Imran Khan responsible,” the PML-N’s current leader, Sharif’s brother Shahbaz Sharif, said in Islamabad on Thursday.
The party has petitioned the Lahore High Court seeking an unconditional end to Sharif’s travel ban.
Sharif, Pakistan’s longest-serving premier, was ousted from his third term in office in 2017 and later jailed on corruption charges.
His health deteriorated while in prison and he suffered a minor heart attack last month, his party said, while his doctor Adnan Khan claimed on Twitter that the ex-leader was “fighting for his life.”
He was bailed last month and briefly hospitalized before being taken to an intensive care unit set up at his home outside the eastern city of Lahore.
Sharif, who is suffering from an autoimmune blood disorder, also has high blood pressure and his kidney functions are deteriorating, according to aides.
They have said the unexplained cause and uncertain diagnosis require advanced investigations and specialized care.
The prime minister has said several times that he will not seek to use Sharif’s illness for political gain.
Dawn, an English-language newspaper, pointed out that there was no legal reason for the additional bond.
“A normal situation which could have been handled normally has now turned into a full-blown crisis,” the newspaper’s editorial noted Friday.
“(T)he former prime minister needs urgent and immediate treatment abroad. In such a situation, the government’s callous decision to demand an indemnity note smacks of political point-scoring and one-upmanship... The result is an acrimonious fight that is eating away precious time.”
Sharif, known as the “Lion of Punjab,” is a political survivor who has repeatedly roared back to the country’s top office. The 69-year-old served three terms — but did not complete a single one.
His first, beginning in 1990, ended in 1993 when he was sacked for corruption. The second lasted from 1997 to 1999, when he was deposed by the powerful military.
Sharif blamed the security establishment for again targeting him in 2017 when the Supreme Court disqualified him from politics for life over graft allegations, which he denies. He was later jailed.

PM Khan attends Bahrain’s national day as ‘guest of honor’

Updated 8 min 45 sec ago

PM Khan attends Bahrain’s national day as ‘guest of honor’

  • Khan will also receive Bahrain’s highest civil award and interact with country’s top leadership
  • This is Khan’s first state visit to Bahrain since assuming office in August 2018

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan will attend Bahrain’s national day as a guest of honor on King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa’s invitation on Monday, said an official statement issued by the PM Office.

Prime Minister Imran Khan arrives at Manama, Bahrain on 16th Dec, 2019. ( Photo Courtesy: Foreign Office Pakistan)

Khan arrived at Manama on his first visit to the country since assuming office in August 2018, the PM Office said on Monday.

Crown Prince of Bahrain, Salman Bin Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa, received the Pakistani premier accompanied by a high-level delegation.

“During the visit, [the prime minister] will have a one-on-one meeting with His Majesty Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa and hold delegation-level talks with Crown Prince His Royal Highness Salman Bin Hamad Al-Khalifa,” said the official statement. “The exchange of views would cover the entire gamut of bilateral relations and matters pertaining to regional and international issues.”
Bahrain will also confer its highest civil award on the leader of the South Asian nation.
“Pakistan and Bahrain enjoy close cordial ties based on commonalities of faith and culture and marked by mutual trust and understanding,” the statement added. “The bilateral relationship is broad-based and multifaceted, covering diverse fields… Pakistan and Bahrain closely coordinate in multilateral fora including the UN, OIC, and GCC.”
The ministry noted that the two countries had also established institutional mechanisms, including Bilateral Political Consultations and Joint Ministerial Commission, to bolster bilateral cooperation.
“Over 100,000 Pakistani expatriate community, which contributes to the socio-economic development of Bahrain, acts as a strong human bridge between the two countries,” the official handout maintained.
“The Prime Minister’s visit to Bahrain will enable the two sides to explore ways and means to further deepen bilateral trade and investments ties,” the statement continued. “The visit is of special significance and will impart a strong impetus to both sides’ endeavors to forge a closer, multifaceted bilateral relationship.”