LAHORE – Pakistan’s ailing former prime minister Nawaz Sharif will leave for London on Tuesday by an air ambulance for treatment after the Lahore High Court allowed him to travel abroad for four weeks for medical care.
A two-member bench of the Lahore High Court (LHC) headed by Justice Baqar Najfi on Saturday announced the verdict on Sharif’s plea challenging the Imran Khan government’s condition of furnishing indemnity bonds for the removal of his name from the no-fly list so that he could travel to the UK for his medical treatment.
After a marathon hearing of more than six hours, the court also ordered that the four-week duration can be extended further on the recommendations of Sharif’s doctors. The court also rejected the government’s condition of indemnity bonds.
“Supreme leader of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Mian Nawaz Sharif will leave for London for his medical treatment on Tuesday on an air ambulance,” Marriyum Aurangzeb, party Spokesperson said in a statement issued here on Sunday.
She said that a panel of doctors examined Sharif, 69, at his Jati Umra residence in Lahore on Sunday and were are trying to clinically stabilise him, making him travel-worthy.
“He will make the journey in a fully equipped and medically staffed air ambulance,” she said, adding that Sharif may proceed to the US for treatment after a brief stay in London for medical examination.
On Wednesday, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government had granted a one-time permission to Nawaz Sharif for four weeks to travel abroad for his treatment provided he submitted indemnity bonds worth rupees 700 crore.
Sharif challenged this condition in the court terming it ‘illegal’ and a “trap” of prime minister Khan to use them (bonds) for his political gains.
Sharif’s brother Shahbaz Sharif signed an undertaking in the court pledging, I will ensure the return of my brother within four weeks or on certification by doctors that he has regained his health and is fit to return back to Pakistan.
“I will provide the periodical medical report of the doctor duly notarised by the embassy (in London) to the registrar of this court,” he said.
Shahbaz further said, “I also undertake that if at any stage, the federal government has credible information that Nawaz Sharif is living abroad despite his fitness to travel, a representative from Pakistan’s High Commission would have a right to meet with his physician(s) to verify or confirm about his health.”
According to the PML-N, doctors recently gave Sharif high dose of steroids thrice for his travel abroad.
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 LHC in the money laundering case.
He 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. However, he could not leave as his name figured in the no fly-list.