Court reserves judgement on admissibility of Sharif's plea for removal of name from no-fly list
A Pakistani court on Friday reserved its judgment on the admissibility of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's petition challenging the condition of furnishing an indemnity bond for the removal of his name from the no-fly list so that he could travel to the UK for his medical treatment, according to media reports. Sharif, 69, on Thursday, filed a petition in the Lahore High Court seeking an order for the Imran Khan government to remove his name from the no-fly list or the Exit Control List (ECL). A two-member bench of the court headed by Justice Baqir Najafi sought comments from the government and the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) by Friday and adjourned the hearing till then.
The three-time prime minister and his Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party have refused to meet the federal government's demand to submit an indemnity bond worth Rs 700 crore for Sharif's travel to the UK for treatment, saying it was "illegal" and denounced attempts to politicize his health. The federal government, however, opposed the plea seeking unconditional permission for the PML-N supremo to travel abroad following which Sharif approached the court.
The Express Tribune reported that the verdict in the matter will be announced shortly without giving a time frame. The court began the hearing at 2 pm but it was later adjourned for about an hour after the government and the NAB submitted their replies to allow the petitioner's counsel to read the responses, the report said.
The Dawn newspaper reported that the government in its 45-page response said that the court does not have the jurisdiction to hear the petition and opposed Sharif's request of unconditional travel abroad for treatment. It also pleaded to the court to reject the petition as non-maintainable.
According to a report on Geo TV, the government argued that Sharif is convicted and that is the reason why he should not be allowed to leave the country without submitting an indemnity bond. The former prime minister was lodged in the Kot Lakhpat jail but last month he was sent to the custody of the NAB which is probing the Sharif family in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills corruption case.
On December 24, 2018, an accountability court had sentenced Sharif to seven years in prison in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills corruption case and acquitted him in the Flagship case. Sharif recently secured eight weeks bail on medical grounds from the Islamabad High Court in the Al-Azizia Mills corruption case in which he was serving seven years imprisonment. He also got bail from the Lahore High Court in the money laundering case.
The former prime minister is suffering from multiple health complications, including erratic platelet count, and is currently being treated at his residence near Lahore where an ICU has been set up. Sharif agreed to go to the UK for treatment, heeding doctors' advice and accepting his family's request. He was scheduled to leave for London on a Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight on Sunday morning. However, he could not leave as his name figured in the no fly-list.
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