Pakistan nod to take Nawaz Sharif off ‘no-fly’ list

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Tuesday agreed to remove former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s name from the no-fly list to enable him to seek medical treatment abroad, on the condition that he deposits security bonds. The government has not yet specified whether the bond would be in the form of cash or any other asset.
Imprisoned since July 2018 for corruption, Sharif was shifted to the hospital from Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat jail last month after being diagnosed with an immune system disorder. His condition turned critical after the platelet count dropped to a dangerous level and doctors warned about his deteriorating health. Subsequently, the Lahore and Islamabad high courts granted him bail in two separate graft cases on medical grounds.
On Tuesday, PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb said an air ambulance will arrive in Lahore on Wednesday to take Nawaz Sharif out of the country for treatment. Doctors will use steroids and other medicines to normalise his platelet count to ensure safe travel. According to doctors, the sooner Sharif moves out of Pakistan, the better it will be for his health, she added.
Last week, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N president and Sharif’s younger brother, Shehbaz Sharif, had sent a request to the home ministry and the country’s anti-corruption watchdog for the removal of the former PM’s name from the Exit Control List (ECL so that he could travel abroad for medical treatment.
For the past few days, a section of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI had been pressuring PM Imran Khan to disallow Sharif from going abroad, saying it would be a complete defeat of the government’s accountability narrative. Another section of PTI, however, believes that Sharif’s departure would be politically beneficial — as was done in Musharraf’s case by sending him abroad and then ruling the country for the next five years.