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Saturday, December 10 2022
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Bureaucratic impediments delay Nawaz Sharif’s departure

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Lahore: In a dramatic turn of events, the Pakistan government has delayed the removal of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s name from the no-fly list, thus forcing a change in his plan to leave for London for treatment on Sunday.

Both the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and the Ministry of Interior couldn’t arrive at a decision on Saturday regarding the removal of the name of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo from the Exit Control List (ECL).

“Sharif was due to leave for London on Sunday morning on a PIA flight along with his brother Shehbaz Sharif. All arrangements were finalised but at the eleventh hour, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government played a trick and did not remove his name from the ECL,” a source told Dawn news.

He recalled that the government on Friday had stated that removal of the former leader’s name from the ECL was just a formality.

“We are wondering that despite Prime Minister Imran Khan’s assurances and his adviser Naeemul Haq and Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s positive statements, Nawaz Sharif’s name could not be removed from the ECL, which shows there must be some issue somewhere in this respect,” he said.

“Nawaz Sharif is in extremely critical medical condition, which is worsening with every passing moment as his platelets are not stabilising. He needs to be prepared for travel through potent steroids, and this dichotomy in the government’s statements and actions is only making matters worse,” the source told Dawn news, adding this delay was “extremely dangerous” for him.

On Friday, Nawaz Sharif was allowed in principle to travel abroad for seeking medical treatment, according to a decision taken by Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Last week, the former premier was shifted to an intensive care unit (ICU) set up at his Jati Umra residence from the Services Institute of Medical Sciences (SIMS), where he was admitted on October 22 after his personal physician raised an alarm about his deteriorating health, Dawn news reported.

During the course of treatment at the Services Hospital, the former premier had suffered an angina attack, besides complaints of bleeding from gums and some other parts, because of his fluctuating platelets.

The Islamabad High Court had on October 29 granted bail to Sharif for eight weeks, suspending his seven-year sentence in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills corruption reference on medical grounds.

The previous day, he had also secured bail in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills case from the Lahore High Court on the same ground.

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