Cabinet decides not to appeal court order allowing Sharif to leave Pakistan

Prime Minister Imran Khan chairs meeting of the Federal Cabinet at PM Office Islamabad on 19th November, 2019. (PID Photo)
Updated 20 November 2019

Cabinet decides not to appeal court order allowing Sharif to leave Pakistan

  • Accountability process is for everyone, says the law minister
  •  Government says collecting data to provide relief to elderly prisoners

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s federal cabinet decided on Tuesday it would not appeal a court verdict that allowed the country’s ailing former prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, to travel abroad for medical treatment.

“The cabinet has decided not to file an immediate appeal against a Lahore High Court verdict,” Federal Minister for Law Farogh Naseem said while addressing a news conference in Islamabad.

The Lahore High Court on Saturday permitted Sharif to leave Pakistan for four weeks on medical grounds, without imposing any other conditions. The court said he could also apply for an extension to the bail period if his treatment required him to stay abroad for a longer duration.

69-year-old three-time premier, Sharif on Tuesday left for London on an air ambulance. He is suffering from an autoimmune blood disorder and was recently released on an eight-week medical bail from a prison facility in Lahore where he was serving a seven-year sentence on corruption charges.

The former prime minister, who has dominated Pakistan’s politics for about three decades, denies all corruption allegations against him, claiming they are politically motivated.

The government of Sharif’s rival, Prime Minister Imran Khan, had earlier said it would not stand in the way, though it demanded him to pay indemnity bonds of seven billion Pakistani rupees last week, which Sharif's party, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), immediately rejected.

After days of political deadlock, the court has granted the PML-N founding leader four weeks to receive treatment after getting an undertaking from him and his younger brother Shehbaz Sharif that he would return to Pakistan soon after his medical recovery.

“We respect the court’s verdict …. The Pakistan High Commission in London and the British government will be informed about Nawaz Sharif’s illness and stay over there [for medical treatment],” the law minister said.

He added that the court would decide about the indemnity bond in January while clarifying that Prime Minister Khan did not have any personal “agenda” against the opposition. “We believe in accountability for all …. There is a need to make the criminal justice system more effective,” he continued.

Naseem said the government was collecting data of elderly and other prisoners involved in petty crime and “the cabinet will review all the cases [to provide them legal relief].”

Earlier in the day, in a veiled reference to Sharif’s departure to London for medical treatment, National Accountability Bureau Chairman Javed Iqbal said that while multiple people were sharing a single hospital bed in the country, there were others who were going abroad – “London or the US” – for treatment “even when they caught a cold.”

“Are the rest of us not humans …. God has created everyone equal,” he said while speaking at an event in Islamabad.


Modi's 'supremacist agenda' could lead to massive bloodshed — PM Khan

Updated 12 December 2019

Modi's 'supremacist agenda' could lead to massive bloodshed — PM Khan

  • Lists down a string of anti-Muslim policies pursued by New Delhi in his Twitter post
  • Warns the world that appeasing the Modi administration would only lead to dire consequencespakis

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday reiterated that his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi was pursuing a “Hindu supremacist agenda,” warning the international community against appeasing the administration in New Delhi since it would lead to dire consequences.
The world “must realize, as appeasement of the genocidal Supremacist agenda of Nazi Germany eventually led to [World War II], Modi’s Hindu Supremacist agenda, accompanied by threats to [Pakistan] under a nuclear overhang, will lead to massive bloodshed & far-reaching consequences,” he said in a Twitter post.
The prime minister also presented a list of anti-Muslim policies pursued by the current Indian administration, starting with the “illegal annexation & continuing siege of [Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir]; then stripping 2 [million] Indian Muslim in Assam of citizenship [and] setting up internment camps; [and] now the passage of Citizenship Amendment Law.”
“As in Nazi Germany,” he continued, “in Modi’s India dissent has been marginalized & the world must step in before it is too late, to counter this Hindu Supremacist agenda of Modi’s India threatening bloodshed & war.”
This is not the first time Khan has compared Modi’s India to Nazi Germany. He made the same assertion in an opinion piece published by The New York Times in August this year.
The Pakistani prime minister repeated the same theme during his United Nations General Assembly speech on September 27.
He also questioned the safety of India’s nuclear weapons in August this year, claiming they had fallen into the hands of “the fascist, racist Hindu Supremacist Modi Govt,” after the Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh said New Delhi could revisit its “no first use” policy on nuclear weapons.