ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet has decided to expedite the procedure of returning of supremo of PML-N and three-time prime minister Mian Nawaz Sharif. The government will approach the Lahore High Court (LHC) to seek disqualification of the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif for submitting a ‘fake affidavit” and over his failure to bring his brother – convicted former premier Nawaz Sharif – back to Pakistan from London.
In the press conference after the cabinet’s meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain said that the government, through the attorney general for Pakistan, will request the court to direct Shehbaz to either take steps to bring his brother back or be disqualified for submitting a fake affidavit, which is a violation of Article 63 of the Constitution.
The federal information minister said that the cabinet has given a go-ahead for seeking legal action against the PML-N President as he had guaranteed the return of his brother after receiving medical treatment from abroad within a stipulated time, but that has not happened.
“Shehbaz was fully involved in sending Nawaz Sharif abroad,” the minister said, adding the drama that was staged over Nawaz’s health was false.
Terming the ex-premier’s departure a ‘fraud’, Fawad said that the three-time ex-PM allegedly got no treatment abroad in the last 17 months and the medical reports that he sent to the Punjab government were rejected because they didn’t match the previous reports.
In November 2019, Nawaz had left the country after he signed a court-approved undertaking, saying that he would return to the country within four weeks. Shehbaz too had signed an undertaking, that stated he would “ensure the return” of his brother “within four weeks or on certification by doctors that he has regained his health and is fit to return back to Pakistan”.
Nawaz was allowed to leave the country for a period of four weeks, extendable on the basis of medical reports. Back then, the government had agreed to allow Nawaz to travel abroad, with the condition that indemnity bonds amounting to Rs7-7.5 billion be furnished.
The PML-N had rejected the condition and had taken the matter to the LHC, which ordered the federal government to remove Nawaz’s name from the Exit Control List without any conditions.
He left for London after he was released on bail from a seven-year sentence for corruption. Later, upon his failure to appear before different courts, he was declared a proclaimed offender.
The government now believes that Nawaz was staying in London despite being healthy and should therefore, be brought back.
Meanwhile, the information minister said that the cabinet after being briefed about the Covid-19 situation has expressed the resolve to not impose lockdowns this time around, keeping the country’s economic situation in view.
Shahbaz Sharif chase-up
The information minister said the federal cabinet had also decided to approach the Lahore High Court (LHC) against the Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif as he was the guarantor for his brother, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s, return to Pakistan.
“It was not right of Nawaz Sharif to act regarding his health issues. And to bring him back, the federal cabinet has decided to approach the court,” the information minister said.
Chaudhry said Nawaz had not undergone any medical treatment for the last 17 months, and the reports he sent — to prolong his stay in London — have been rejected by the Punjab government.
“His claim of going out of the country was fraudulent, and Shahbaz was involved in this fraud.”
The information minister said Pakistan High Commission in London had contacted Nawaz, but he did not provide his medical reports to it.
Chaudhry said Shahbaz should now follow up on his statement to the court and take steps to bring back Nawaz. “We will file a plea in the court, seeking his disqualification if Nawaz does not come back.”
Govt to form medical board
In a bid to bring the former prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, back from London where he had gone for his medical treatment, the government has decided to set up a Board to review eight medical reports submitted by him to the Lahore High Court (LHC) to prove his multiple illnesses, it was learnt on Thursday.
According to a copy of the letter written by Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP) Khalid Jawed Khan to the Punjab home secretary, the Board will also give its expert opinion not only on the authenticity of these reports but also different activities the three-time prime minister is carrying on in London despite claiming that he is sick.
The AGP says in the letter that he is writing in light of the decision taken at the federal cabinets meeting held on January 11, 2022.
The letter reads that the two-member bench of the Lahore High Court (LHC) had on November 16, 2019 allowed Nawaz Sharif to proceed abroad, and that both Nawaz and his younger brother, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif had submitted an affidavit in the court, in which they assured the government that the former prime minister would return from London within four weeks.
The letter further reads that the medical reports submitted by Nawaz then showed that he was critically ill. But on the contrary, once Nawaz reached the UK capital, he did not get himself admitted to a hospital even once, but continued his political activities there, the letter says and adds that this shows that he is fit to travel to Pakistan. Apart from that, as per the statements of Shehbaz and immediate family members of the former prime minister, he is feeling better now. Therefore, a medical board be constituted which will give a final word on Nawazs health,reads the letter.
The attorney general’s office on Wednesday asked the Punjab government to consider constituting a medical board or a committee that could determine the current status of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.