LHC decision on Nawaz’s travel reinforces ‘spirit of cabinet’s decision’: Akbar

ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Accountability Shahzad Akbar on Sunday said that the Lahore High Court’s (LHC) decision to unconditionally allow former prime minister Nawaz Sharif to travel abroad for four weeks for medical treatment, in fact, “reinforces the spirit of the cabinet decision” on the issue.

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He was addressing a press conference alongside Attorney General Anwar Mansoor Khan a day after the LHC allowed the former premier to travel abroad for four weeks, saying the duration could be extended based on medical reports.

In a blow to the government, which had placed a condition of indemnity bonds for Nawaz’s travel, the court ordered the federal government to remove his name from the Exit Control List (ECL) without any conditions.

Akbar said the federal cabinet had granted a one-time permission for Nawaz to travel abroad on humanitarian grounds but the condition of indemnity bonds was placed in view of his past record. He said Nawaz had “broken promises” many times in the past, had received the certificate of “not being Sadiq (truthful) and Ameen” (righteous) from the Supreme Court, and several members of his family were proclaimed offenders.

The LHC, he noted, had in its verdict maintained the one-time permission granted to Nawaz by the federal cabinet as well as the time limit of four weeks, but the condition of indemnity bonds was suspended and replaced with undertakings from Nawaz and his brother PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif.

Akbar said the government would have had to approach the civil courts for enforcement of the indemnity bonds in case Nawaz refused to return to the country, but now the high court itself has taken undertaking from the Sharif brothers “keeping in view the spirit of the cabinet decision”.

If Nawaz fails to abide by the undertaking it would constitute a serious contempt of court offence, the SAPM added.

He further observed that the court has granted access for a representative of the Government of Pakistan to verify the PML-N leader’s medical reports while under treatment abroad.

“We think the Lahore High Court’s short order reinforces the spirit of the cabinet decision,” he said, adding that the surety desired by the government for Nawaz’s return has come in the form of the undertaking. The LHC order will be placed before the federal cabinet on Tuesday, Akbar said.

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