Ailing Sharif to finally fly to UK on Tuesday

Ousted Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif sits on a plane after landing at the Allama Iqbal International Airport in Lahore on July 13, 2018. (REUTERS/File)
Updated 18 November 2019

Ailing Sharif to finally fly to UK on Tuesday

  • An air ambulance will take the former prime minister out of Pakistan
  • Doctors getting him ready for travel; process to take two days

LAHORE – Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will leave Pakistan for treatment in the UK on Tuesday with doctors administering the necessary medicines to prepare him for the journey, officials told Arab News on Sunday

An air ambulance is expected to fly him out of Pakistan on Tuesday with his entire medical team on board.

“Air ambulance will arrive on Tuesday and Nawaz Sharif will go to the UK for treatment on the same day. The team of doctors has examined Nawaz Sharif on Sunday morning and consulted how to maintain his platelets’ count to enable him for travel,” Maryam Aurangzeb, spokesperson of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) said in her address to the media on Sunday.

Nawaz needs a genetic test to be conducted to ascertain the reasons for his ailment. However, since the facility is not available in Pakistan, he has to travel abroad for the purpose.

“Doctors are managing Nawaz Sharif’s medical requirements to get him medically stabilized for traveling. The process may take two days. He will be leaving for London, the UK in a fully equipped and medically-staffed Air Ambulance,” Dr. Adnan Khan, Nawaz’s personal physician told Arab News.

The process brings to an end a high octane drama that had engulfed Pakistan’s political scene in the past few weeks.

On Saturday, the Lahore High Court gave Nawaz an ok to travel, doing away with the federal government’s condition of submitting an indemnity bond of Rs7 billion.

The court also ordered the government to remove his name from the no-fly list for four weeks, without any conditions.

“The court has ordered to remove the name of Mian Nawaz Sharif from the ECL unconditionally and allowed him to go abroad for treatment for four weeks time that can be extended owing to his health condition,” Advocate Ashtar Ausaf Ali told Arab News. 

“We have accepted the draft prepared by the court. Shahbaz Sharif and Nawaz Sharif will sign the affidavits to satisfy the court,” he added.

The court granted permission after getting separate affidavits from Nawaz and his brother, Shehbaz Sharif, on the surety that they will return to the country after treatment.

“Nawaz Sharif and Shehbaz Sharif have given an undertaking so we are giving permission to Nawaz Sharif to go abroad for treatment. The permission is for four weeks that can be extended subject to the (medical) condition,” Mr. Justice Ali Baqir Najfi, head of the bench, said in court.

The petition was filed by PML-N president Shehbaz, on Thursday, seeking the removal of Nawaz’s name from the no-fly list. 

On Friday, the court accepted the petition for the hearing rejecting the federal government’s objection and deferring the matter until Saturday.

Former Deputy Speaker and PML-N leader, Rana Mashood while talking to the Arab News said: “The court has nullified the unconstitutional condition of furnishing of the bond by the government. Nawaz Sharif will certainly come back as they are innocent that would be proved in the courts.”

The three-time former prime minister, Nawaz, has been serving a sentence on corruption charges, but had been granted bail on “health grounds.”

Pakistan’s move to reopen border will strengthen business ties, says Afghan special envoy 

Updated 12 July 2020

Pakistan’s move to reopen border will strengthen business ties, says Afghan special envoy 

  • Pakistani-Afghan border was sealed in mid-March as part of containment measures against COVID-19
  • Kabul-Islamabad trade was $1.2 billion per annum before the coronavirus outbreak 

PESHAWAR: The Pakistani government’s decision to reopen all main border checkpoints with Afghanistan will help increase business and reduce trust deficit between the two countries, Afghan special envoy Muhammed Umer Daudzai told Arab News on Sunday, as the Kharlachi crossing in Kurram district, Khyber Pakhtunkwa resumed operations after a long coronavirus closure.

The Pakistani-Afghan border was sealed in mid-March as part of containment measures against the COVID-19 outbreak. After reopening its crossings at Chaman in Balochistan, and Torkham, Ghulam Khan and Angoor Adda in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the past few weeks to facilitate trade, Pakistan on Saturday unsealed Kharlachi, which is the fifth main checkpoint on the borderline.

“These all are very positive signs. This (border opening) is a step toward right direction. This will increase businesses, people-to-people contact and remove trust-deficit,” the Afghan special envoy for Pakistan said.

Pakistani Foreign Office spokeswoman Aisha Farooqui also said the border’s reopening will help strengthen bilateral ties.

“The opening of the fifth Kharlachi border in Kurram tribal district with Afghanistan tends to encourage trade between the two countries, which will help strengthen their ties in future,” she told Arab News.

According to Faiz Muhammad from the Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI), Pakistan’s move to reopen the five border crossings with Afghanistan was “a remarkable initiative” and would have a huge positive on trade between the two countries.

“Pakistan can regain Afghanistan trade market if it offers incentives to traders and reduce duty on items,” said the senior executive at SCCI, the chamber which role is to stimulate trade and business activity in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the province in which most border crossings with Afghanistan are located.

He said that the quantum of Kabul-Islamabad trade was $1.2 billion per annum before the coronavirus outbreak and dropped to an estimated $1 billion after the border closure.