Nawaz gets Cabinet nod

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  • Majority of Cabinet supported removal of name from ECL      
  • Matter ‘a bit complex’, says  Farogh    
  • Decision a bit too tough for govt: Zubair    
  • NAB raises own concerns

By Ajmal Khan Yousafzai
ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet on Tuesday granted in-principle “conditional” approval to remove ailing former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s name from the Exit Control List (ECL), government’s chief spokesperson Firdous Ashiq Awan said.
Addressing a news conference after the cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan, she said about “85-90 per cent” participants of the meeting were of the opinion that Nawaz should be allowed to go abroad for medical treatment provided he meets certain conditions.
Separately, prime minister’s spokesperson Nadeem Afzal Chan told media that the cabinet had given its sub-committee the mandate to decide the process of removing Nawaz’s name from the no-fly list. The final decision on the matter will be taken after the sub-committee formulates a position on the issue, Chan said.
He said several members of the cabinet had opposed striking the PML-N supremo’s name off the ECL, adding that the prime minister gave his opinion after hearing the viewpoints of all members.
“The prime minister was of the opinion that Nawaz Sharif should go abroad for treatment,” the spokesperson said. He stressed that it is not the government, but the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and courts, which “have to be given guarantees” regarding Nawaz’s time abroad. The development comes after the cabinet sub-committee on ECL convened earlier in the day to prepare recommendations on the matter of the removal of Nawaz’s name from the no-fly list. After nearly five hours of deliberations, the meeting ended without any decision, with Law Minister Farogh Naseem terming the issue “a bit complex”.
The minister told reporters that the sub-committee will meet again at 9:30pm today as participants of the meeting have been asked to bring along missing documentation.
Agencies add: Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan on Tuesday said that 85 to 90 percent ministers supported the decision to remove former prime minister and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif’s name from the Exit Control List and allow him to travel abroad.
Briefing the media on federal cabinet meeting in Islamabad, she said that hurdles won’t be created and facilities would be provided to Sharif to travel abroad. She said there was a consensus in the meeting that the PML-N supremo shouldn’t be given relief unconditionally. However, the meeting was of the view that the former prime minister should be bound with certain guarantees, sureties and indemnity bonds for his return after completion of the treatment. The prime minister also gave directions to the cabinet that all cabinet members must take responsibility of the performance of their respective ministries. If there is any issue, it will be the responsibility of the respective minister. The Ministers will take their decisions on fast track basis.
She said the cabinet was apprised of key projects under CPEC including ML-1, airport, and other infrastructure that were discussed in the recent JCC meeting with Chinese counterparts. Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan said the cabinet was informed that 1594 Pakistani prisoners from Saudi Arabia and 345 from Malaysia have returned to the country after serving their sentences due to special efforts made by Prime Minister.
The cabinet expressed displeasure over a news reports carried by a section of media regarding inquiry commission to probe debt accumulated by previous governments. The said report was based on wrong statistics and fabricated facts.
Asim Hussain adds: A sub-committee of the cabinet convened on Tuesday to prepare recommendations on the matter of the removal of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s name from the no-fly list.
After nearly five hours of deliberations, the meeting ended without any decision, with Law Minister Farogh Naseem terming the issue of striking Nawaz’s name off the Exit Control List (ECL) “a bit complex”.
The minister told reporters that the sub-committee will meet again at 9:30pm today as participants of the meeting have been asked to bring along missing documentation.
Naseem indicted that some documents that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had to produce were missing and that the counsels for the applicant, PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif, have also been directed to produce additional documents because they were “not fully prepared”.
There were reports that the former prime minister may leave for London on Monday; however, the procedure to remove his name from the no-fly list could not be completed. In addition, his platelet count remained unstable and, according to PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb, doctors continued to struggle to get his platelet levels up to the required mark for travel.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Sunday said that “legal obstacles” to Sharif’s departure were being removed as doctors had stressed that medical treatment abroad was needed to save his life.
“The government has given importance to the doctors’ opinion,” Qureshi had told reporters in Multan.
“We pray to God for his recovery, so that he returns with good health and takes part in politics,” he added.
Nawaz, who was incarcerated after an accountability court found him guilty in the Al Azizia 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 Lahore High Court. Nawaz’s daughter Maryam will not be able to accompany her father abroad as she had to surrender her passport in order to secure her release on bail in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills case.
Our News Desk add: Former Sindh Governor and PML-N leader Muhammad Zubair Umar has said that sending Nawaz Sharif out of country is a hard decision for the government. In a media talk Zubair Umar claimed that the government of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) was divided within over the matter.
The government is hesitating to own the decision, the PML-N leader said. The government should take any decision it intends as soon as possible, and inform him, PML-N leader said. He said unnecessary statements should be avoided over the serious matter. “They have to take decision (over the matter) instead of playing on both sides of the wicket,” Zubair said. The medical board for Nawaz Sharif was constituted by the government. His health is deteriorating. He could likely to be taken to the United States, Zubair Umar added.
It is to be mentioned here that the federal cabinet with Prime Minister Imran Khan in chair will consider in a meeting today to remove the name of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif from the exit control list (ECL).
A medical board constituted by the government has termed the health condition of Sharif as very serious.
Our Monitoring Desk adds: NAB has questioned who would be responsible if former premier does not return back to the country after his bail expires. NAB sources said Nawaz is accused in 3 cases while convicted in one case. Sources added that government must ensure return of Nawaz Sharif.
NAB did not object to his bail on human grounds and its discretion of government to send him abroad.
Earlier, it surfaced that federal cabinet is likely to approve conditional removal of former prime minister and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif’s name from the Exit Control List (ECL). Sources said that the former prime minister will have to provide guarantee to travel abroad. The federal cabinet is considering the option of submitting bonds as surety.
Sources said that Nawaz Sharif’s name would be removed from the ECL if he fulfills the conditions of the Sub-Committee. The Sub-Committee has also demanded the lawyers of the PML-N supremo to handover some assets. The subcommittee will send a summary to the federal cabinet after approval of conditions from Nawaz Sharif and the committee will take final decision till 9pm.
Party refuses to confirm Nawaz’s return date
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PMl-N) has said that it would not give any return date if Nawaz Sharif goes abroad for his medical treatment. PML-N sources while commenting on removal of Nawaz’ name from ECL said court has already given him 8 weeks bail so why government is asking for his date of return. Sources added that Nawaz Sharif has already submitted surety bonds in the court.
Sources said further decision would be taken after consulting the legal team, adding that the date of return would be confirmed after medical treatment of former premier starts.
Earlier, it surfaced that federal cabinet is likely to approve conditional removal of former prime minister and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif’s name from the Exit Control List (ECL).
Sources said that the former prime minister will have to provide guarantee to travel abroad. The federal cabinet is considering the option of submitting bonds as surety.–Agencies