Nawaz Sharif
Critically ill former prime minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif has been told give Rs7 billion surety bond to travel abroad for treatment Image Credit: AP/file

Dubai: Political situation in Pakistan is heating up as the critical ill former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been told to pay Rs7 billion (Dh164.5 million)surety bond if he wants to travel abroad for medical treatment.

The government has also given only one time four-week permission to ailing Sharif to get his medical treatment in London.

The new condition has further delayed the three-time former Pakistan PM Sharif’s departure to London as doctors in Pakistan struggle to stablise his health condition.

Law Minister says

Federal Minister for Law and Justice Farogh Naseem announced on Wednesday that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif will be given a “one-time” permission to travel abroad for his medical treatment for a period of four weeks, according to Pakistani media.

He told at the much-awaited press conference that the permission will be subject to the Sharif family submitting an indemnity bond “to the tune of Rs7-7.5 billion”.

Naseem earlier chaired a consultative meeting of the cabinet’s sub-committee held on Thursday to finalise its recommendations on the matter of removing Nawaz’s name from the Exit Control List (ECL) -travel ban list.

He said the permission is not conditional to anyone’s consent and has been granted to fulfil the government’s obligations in view of Nawaz’s adverse critical medical condition.

Sharif's platelet count

He said the interior ministry had received an application from PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif, younger brother of Nawaz Sharif, for the removal of Nawaz’s name from the no-fly list. Along with the plea, a detailed medical report from Sharif Medical City hospital was also submitted. It was cross-checked and on November 10, the Punjab medical board in its report agreed with the report of the Sharif Medical City, Naseem added.

He said the report highlighted that Nawaz has a blood disorder, while his platelet count was around 25,000 when it should have been around 150,000 or above. He had also suffered a stroke.

Shahzad Khan, Speical Assitant on Accountablity to the Prime Minister said: “Nawaz has been given this one-time permission only for medical treatmen.It is the federal government’s responsibility to ensure a guarantee from him and that that bond was only over surety, not any political gain.”

The special assistant said the government understood Nawaz was unwell but stressed that the former premier was required to return to Pakistan after his medical treatment was completed. “The Ministry of Interior will issue the letter of permission,” he said.

Akbar further noted that no one should forget the PML-N leader had been sentenced in a mega-corruption case and that investigation was still underway in some cases, including that of the Chaudhry Sugar Mills.

Nawaz was convicted by an accountability court last December in the Al-Azizia corruption reference and awarded him a seven-year imprisonment sentence, alongside a fine worth Rs1.5 billion and $25 million (Rs3.88 billion).

Dangerous games

“The government is playing ‘dangerous games’ with Nawaz Sharif’s health,” said Mariyam Augranzeb, spokesperson of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).

“The conditional departure set by the government for the former prime minister Nawaz Sharif is unconstitutional,” she tweeted after Sharif’s departure was further delayed.

“Giving high doses of steroids to Sharif constantly may put his health in danger.” She said that the government has no idea about the dangers faced by the PML-N supreme leader. She said the government would be responsible if anything happens to Sharif.

Legal expert

Abid Hassan Minto, a top legal expert in Pakistan, told Geo TV on Wednesday: “Nawaz Sharif was convicted by the court and then he has been granted bail. Whether he is allowed to go abroad for his treatment or not it is up to the federal government. However, this step (asking for surety bonds) is unjustified because the court has allowed him to get medical treatment of his choice. The conditional removal of his name from ECL and submitting the surety bond is unjustified.”