Nawaz Sharif leaves Pakistan for treatment in London

Nellie Chapman
November 21, 2019

After days of deadlock over the condition, he was finally allowed to leave his home in Lahore to travel to London for treatment following an undertaking to the court that he would return to Pakistan within four weeks.

A good number of PML-N workers and leaders including Khwaja Asif, Ahsan Iqbal, Raja Zafarul Haq and others were also present at the airport.

Nawaz Sharif arrived here Tuesday night in an air ambulance to receive medical treatment, a month after the three-time prime minister was released on bail from a seven-year sentence. Sharif's third term as prime minister ran from 2013 to 2017, when he was removed the Supreme Court amid revelations over his personal wealth. Thus is not be allowed to leave the country without submitting a security bond. He was granted bail by the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on humanitarian grounds earlier this month.

Meanwhile, addressing the press conference following the cabinet meeting, Federal Minister for Law Barrister Farogh Naseem said that former prime minister and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif's sentence has only been suspended. He denies the charge, saying he was politically victimized.

The government of Sharif's rival Imran Khan had said it would not stand in the way, but last week demanded that he pay a bond of seven billion Pakistani rupees (S$61 million) as a condition of his travel, which Sharif's party immediately rejected. A ministry memorandum said Nawaz's name would continue to stay in the ECL; however, he had been granted a one-time permission to travel for four weeks.

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On Tuesday, Law Minister Farogh Naseem said that the government had decided for the time being not to challenge the LHC verdict allowing Nawaz to go overseas without furnishing the indemnity bonds to the government. He served three terms - but did not complete a single one.

Known as the "Lion of Punjab", Sharif is a political survivor who has repeatedly roared back to the country's top office.

His first tenure, beginning in 1990, ended in 1993 when he was sacked over corruption.

His second stint as premier, which began in 1997, was cut short when he was toppled in a military coup in 1999 and sent into exile by General Pervez Musharraf who grabbed power.

He noted that contempt of court would apply to PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif in case Nawaz did not return.

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