Court admits PML-N's plea against indemnity bonds

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Nawaz Sharif’s health is critical, claims personal physician

From Abid Usman
LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) is currently hearing a petition challenging the government’s condition of furnishing indemnity bonds in order to secure the removal of ailing former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s name from the Exit Control List (ECL).
A day earlier, Justice Ali Baqir Najafi and Justice Sardar Naeem had taken up the plea filed by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) challenging the government’s decision of demanding indemnity bonds worth Rs7 billion from Nawaz in return for his removal from the no-fly list.
The decision to approach the high court was announced by PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif in a press conference, wherein he declared the government’s decision to demand surety bond a “ransom”.
“The government by asking the Sharif family to submit indemnity bonds to secure permission for Nawaz to travel abroad was, in fact, demanding ‘ransom’,” he had said.
On Wednesday, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government, after much deliberation, had granted a one-time permission to Nawaz for four weeks to travel abroad for his treatment provided he submitted indemnity bonds worth over Rs7.5 billion.
A visibly furious Shehbaz, accompanied by the senior party leadership, said that legal experts have also rejected and condemned this and said there is no legal standing or compulsion for him to pay the bond.
Shehbaz said his brother was facing many illnesses and “will continue to do so”.
“I ask the government, when, on July 6, 2018, a trial court gave a verdict against Nawaz and Maryam, and Nawaz was by his very sick wife’s bedside, and left her to come back to Pakistan on July 13 and went straight
to jail, did you ask for an indemnity bond or surety bond? He came without it,” said the PML-N chief. “Now, two high courts have given him bail and said he can go abroad for treatment but the government is playing politics on the issue,” said Shehbaz, terming it “disgraceful”.
Listing Nawaz’s achievements, he said there was no decision by the courts in this regard, yet the government was asking him to pay a bond. “At a time when the entire country is worried about his health, the government is only worried about politics,” said Shehbaz, reiterating that they will never accept this condition. He accused the Interior Ministry and NAB of tossing the ball between themselves. Nawaz’s health has been made into a shuttlecock between NAB and the interior ministry, he said, accusing them of doing “dirty politics” on his health.
On Oct 22 midnight, Nawaz’s health deteriorated at the NAB office and his platelet count dropped to 15,000 or 16,000, said Shehbaz, who added that they rushed him to the hospital where his platelet count dropped to 2,000 the next day. “It is a miracle in medical history that there was no internal bleeding,” he said, adding the former prime minister also suffered a cardiac episode due to the medicines that were prescribed to stablise the platelet count. Even Dr Shamsi, the expert brought in by the Punjab government, advised that Nawaz be taken abroad, to Boston or Europe, for treatment, said Shehbaz.
The former prime minister had been rushed from Kot Lakhpat jail to the hospital last month after his personal physician Dr Adnan Khan raised an alarm over his deteriorating health. Following this, Shehbaz had submitted a request to the interior ministry as well as NAB for the removal of Nawaz’s name from the ECL so that the former prime minister could travel abroad for medical treatment. Nawaz, who was incarcerated after an accountability court found him guilty in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills corruption reference, was granted bail by the Islamabad High Court on humanitarian grounds. He also obtained bail in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills case, in which he is a suspect, from the LHC.
Agencies add: The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) said on Friday that further delay in former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s medical treatment can fatal.
Speaking to media, PML-N representative and former information minister Marriyum Aurangzeb said that the medicines being given to Nawaz were resulting in side effects.
“The side effects of the medicines being given to Nawaz Sharif are causing swelling in his body,” she said. “It is dangerous to give him steroids and other medicines without diagnosing the disease.”