ECL saga: Nawaz Sharif's fate to be decided today

11:40 PM | 12 Nov, 2019
ECL saga: Nawaz Sharif's fate to be decided today

ISLAMABAD - The cabinet's subcommittee is set to meet again today to announce its decision regarding removal of Nawaz Sharif's name from the no-fly list after the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo refused to accept the condition of a surety bond set by the cabinet for his medical treatment abroad.

A sub-committee of the federal cabinet on Tuesday reserved its decision over an application seeking the removal of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif from the no-fly list on medical grounds.

The committee, which was presided over by Federal Law Minister Dr Farogh Naseem, continued for around two hours to deliberate over giving permission to the ailing former premier to travel abroad for his treatment.

Officials including Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Accountability Shehzad Akbar and head of the medical board were present while PML-N's Atta Tarrar and Nawaz's personal physician attended the meeting to represent Sharif family. 

Nawaz Sharif was freed on bail last month after his jail sentence was temporarily suspended on medical grounds. He had remained on the Exit Control List (ECL).

Sharif, 69, received a seven-year jail sentence for corruption and money laundering in 2018 in Al-Azizia graft case, but his health has recently deteriorated and doctors recommended him to go abroad for advanced treatment. PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif had moved the interior ministry to remove his brother's name from the no-fly list.

Media reports say the official committee sought surety bonds from the PML-N against the removal of former premier's name from ECL. The government through this demand wants to make the convicted PML-N supremo bound that he will return to the country after treatment. 

However, Tarrar denied submitting any surety bonds terming the demand illegal. He argued that the ailing ex-PM had already submitted surety bonds to the Islamabad High Court and Lahore High Court. 

After detailed discussion, the sub-committee reserved the decision and will announce it tomorrow (Nov 13) at 10 AM, said Tarrar, adding that there is a deadlock over submitting the security bonds.

Earlier in the day, government's chief spokesperson Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan announced that the federal cabinet granted in-principle "conditional" approval to remove ailing former prime minister's name from the ECL.

Addressing a news conference after the cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan, she said the majority of the participants in the meeting were of the opinion that Nawaz should be allowed to go abroad for medical treatment if he meets certain conditions, including submitting indemnity bonds.