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Nawaz Sharif’s Exit in Federal Cabinet’s Hands

by Newsweek Pakistan

Tolga Akmen—AFP

PTI-led federal cabinet meeting to decide whether or not to allow former prime minister to travel abroad for medical treatment

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Monday said the government was empowered to determine whether or not former prime minister Nawaz Sharif should be allowed to leave Pakistan, leaving it up to the federal government to make the final decision.

In light of NAB’s refusal to offer a concrete stance, a subcommittee on the Exit Control List of the federal cabinet will meet on Tuesday (today) under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan to decide whether or not Sharif will be allowed to travel abroad for medical treatment.

Sharif was last month granted bail on humanitarian grounds from both the Lahore High Court and the Islamabad High Court, as his health continues to deteriorate with doctors saying that they are unable to figure out why treatment is not proving effective. Despite being freed from incarceration to seek medical treatment, he remains on the Exit Control List, preventing him from traveling abroad to seek specialized care for his various ailments.

NAB had on Sunday asked the interior ministry to submit Sharif’s medical report to help it determine if the former premier’s name should be removed from the ECL. A day later, it said the federal government was the “competent authority” to decide the matter.

The Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) has repeatedly said that the delay in granting approval for Sharif to leave Pakistan is posing a “serious” threat to his life. PMLN spokesman Marriyum Aurangzeb told daily Dawn that the party hoped the government would remove Sharif’s name from the ECL on Nov. 12, adding that the former premier’s personal physician had been directed to appear before the subcommittee to explain the medical issues facing Sharif.

Sharif’s platelet count continues to worry medical professionals, who say that delaying the process of securing tests and administering treatment that it not available in Pakistan is increasing risks to his life. A government-appointed medical board has suggested he requires genetic testing that requires expertise that Pakistan lacks in order to determine the issues to his health.

Earlier on Monday, federal ministers Fawad Chaudhry and Faisal Vawda said the former prime minister should not be allowed to leave the country, with Chaudhry demanding an apology from the ailing PMLN leader for failing to establish a hospital in Pakistan that could properly treat him. However, Punjab Governor Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar said the former premier’s health should not be politicized, adding the former prime minister should be free to go anywhere for treatment.

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