Don’t shoot yourself in the foot, allies advise Imran


–PML-Q leaders, Senate chief, MQM senator urge govt to withdraw indemnity bond demand, allow Nawaz to fly overseas 

–Shujaat urges Imran to pay no heed to people hampering PML-N supremo’s departure

–Legal fraternity says govt’s decision to seek Rs7bn from Sharifs ‘unjustified, unprecedented’


LAHORE: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government has come under increasing pressure to let former prime minister Nawaz Sharif go abroad without a financial guarantee, with party leaders, coalition partners and legal experts calling upon Prime Minister Imran Khan to withdraw the “unjustified” condition.

The development comes at a time when the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has already taken the government to the Lahore High Court (LHC) over its demand for an indemnity bond worth Rs7 billion, which it called “unconstitutional” and akin to “ransom”.

Leaders of the government’s major coalition partner PML-Quaid — Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and Pervaiz Elahi, on Thursday urged the prime minister not to listen to those were creating hurdles in the departure of Nawaz Sharif.

“PM Imran has to overcome the storm which has started over Nawaz Sharif’s departure,” Shujaat said, referring to a barrage of statements coming out in the favour of Nawaz after the government asked him to submit an indemnity bond of Rs7bn for the permission to fly overseas.

Urging the PM to focus on important issues, such as rising inflation and unemployment, the PML-Q president said the PM should refrain from taking measures which will put him in a difficult position afterwards. “People in power should only spend their energy on ending inflation and unemployment,” he added.

Speaking separately, PML-Q leader and Punjab Assembly Speaker Pervaiz Elahi urged the federal government to withdraw its demand of the surety bond, saying the government shouldn’t demand money from the PML-N supreme leader as it decided to allow him to go abroad for medical treatment on “humanitarian grounds”.

He said if something happened to Nawaz Sharif then the issue would haunt the incumbent prime minister for the rest of his life, comparing the current scenario to that of former premier and founder of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.

Nawaz does not have any property in his name as he has given everything to his children, he added.

The Chaudhry brothers, considered to be veteran deal brokers, are an integral part of the PTI government in Punjab and they are also heading the talks with anti-government protesters led by Maulana Fazlur Rehman.

Meanwhile, PTI leader Barrister Ali Zafar, who also served as an interim information minister in 2018, said the court has not put any condition while granting bail to Nawaz Sharif and there was no justification for the government to put new conditions.

The court might declare the condition void, he added.

Another ally in the Centre, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM-P), has also opposed the condition of the indemnity bonds.

In a TV show on Geo News, MQM Senator Ali Saif said that there was no space for indemnity bond in the constitution for removing someone’s name from the Exit Control List (ECL).

He said it was not legal, but a political decision, which was unprecedented, fearing the decision won’t stand in the court.


In addition to this, Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani, who is considered close to the PTI government, urged the federal government to refrain from playing politics over the health of the ailing opposition leaders.

He said the government should immediately give permission to Nawaz Sharif so that he could fly to London for a medical checkup on the recommendation of the medical board.

Sanjrani demanded the federal government to provide maximum healthcare facilities to Nawaz and former president Asif Ali Zardari, as the refusal or delay in this regard might backfire.

These remarks from the government camp have laid bare the divide within the power circles over the treatment meted out to the ex-PM, giving strength to the rumours of fissures within the federal cabinet over the decision to allow Nawaz to go abroad.

However, government spokesperson Firdous Ashiq Awan said the ball was in PML-N’s court on whether or not it wanted to fulfill the condition to pave way for Nawaz’s departure.

It is not just politicians, who are calling out the PTI government for its Rs7bn condition, as it has come under criticism from the legal fraternity of the country.

In a statement issued by the Pakistan Bar Council, Vice Chairman Amjad Shah denounced the decision and urged the federal government to allow Nawaz Sharif to travel abroad for medical treatment without any conditions.

The PBC leader said the Imran Khan-led government was disregarding the critical and very serious health condition of the former premier and was making “mockery” of courts.

He further stated that there is no justification for the demand of security bonds when the Islamabad High Court has already granted bail to Nawaz – after the filing surety bonds – on medical grounds.

“Imposing of such an unjustified and illegal condition, in fact, amounts to negate and defy the order of the high court entailing the consequences of the contempt of court,” the statement read.

Abid Hassan Minto — one of Pakistan’s top legal mind — said the demand was “unjustified” because the court had allowed Nawaz to get medical treatment of his choice.  “The conditional removal of his name from ECL and submitting the surety bond is unjustified,” he added.


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