LHC order on Sharif’s plea vindicates government stance: Shahzad Akbar

ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Accountability Mirza Shahzad Akbar on Sunday said that order of the Lahore High Court on a plea for the removal of Nawaz Sharif’s name from Exit Control List (ECL) vindicated the government’s stance on the issue.

Addressing a press conference along with Attorney General of Pakistan Anwar Mansoor Khan at Press Information Department (PID), he said as per law the name of a convict cannot be removed from ECL. However, permission was granted to Nawaz Sharif on humanitarian grounds to let him proceed abroad for medical treatment.

“The LHC decision has reinforced the government stance over the issue,” said Shahzad Akbar. He said the cabinet had decided to grant one-time-permission to Nawaz Sharif, specifically for medical treatment. He said this permission was duration bound for four weeks.

He said it was also decided that upon completion of his treatment, Nawaz Sharif will return to the country and face the cases against him. His return would also be ensured.

The Special Assistant said the Sharif family has a precedent of not returning to the country when granted permission to go abroad.

He said the amount of indemnity bond for Nawaz Sharif was determined on the basis of sentences awarded to him in various cases.

Shahzad Akbar said violation of undertaking given by PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif to Lahore High Court is a criminal offence. He said the verdict of court will be discussed in the Cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

He pointed out that there were four basic points of the judicial decision.

“The name of any convicted person cannot be taken out from the ECL; however only one-time permission was granted to Nawaz Sharif on humanitarian grounds,” he said, adding that the court has taken a written undertaking from them instead of an indemnity bond.

“The first point was only one-time permission should be granted, the second was that Nawaz Sharif would travel abroad for treatment, the third was that he would return back to face the cases against him and the fourth was to guarantee his return to Pakistan,” he maintained.

He said that Sharif’s sons and the father-in-law of his daughter were fugitives. “He is not Sadiq and Amin and obtained a certificate for that from the court.”

He said that the indemnity bond was to be given by Shehbaz Sharif; whereas the court has taken written undertaking from both of them” he said.

“A government representative can verify medical certificates and the written undertaking has guaranteed their return,” he said, adding that if violated, this would be a serious crime.

Meanwhile, Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP), Anwar Mansoor Khan said that the decision of the Lahore High Court (LHC) which allowed Nawaz Sharif to travel abroad for medical treatment, was purely based on humanitarian grounds and merits of the case were yet to be decided as no legal reason was given in the order.

He said it was an interim order of the court, which did not reject the government’s stance as the case would be resumed for final decision to look into the merits of the case in January 2020.

He said the undertaking before the court of law had more value than indemnity bonds the government was asking for and if the signatories, Nawaz Sharif and Opposition Leader Shehbaz Sharif, did not fulfill their commitment to the courts then they could be trailed under Contempt of Court Ordinance and Article 61, 62-B of the Constitution.

He said after the written order of the court, the matter would be produced before the cabinet which would decide whether it should file an appeal or not.

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