The Pakistan government on Tuesday gave its conditional approval for removing former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s name from the no-fly list (Exit Control List) to complete his medical treatment in the UK.
Either Sharif or his family members have been asked to sign a surety bond committing to return to Pakistan after his medical treatment in the UK is completed, the country’s federal cabinet stated.
Sharif was granted bail by the Lahore High Court (LHC) on medical grounds last month, while the Islamabad High Court (IHC) suspended his seven-year jail-term in connection with the Al-Azizia Steel Mills corruption case.
The former prime minister was convicted in December 2018 and serving time in Lahore's Kot Lakhpat jail before being shifted to a hospital and then to his home after his health took a turn for the worse.
The Sharif family had been requesting Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government to remove Nawaz Sharif’s name from the Exit Control List so that he could fly to the UK.
After the surety bond is signed, lawyers of the Sharif family will submit it to the federal cabinet for approval. Once approval is granted, Pakistan’s Interior Ministry would strike Sharif’s name off the no-fly list.
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s anti-corruption watchdog, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), continues to oppose the removal of Sharif’s name from the no-fly list.
Prime Minister Khan had refused to apply the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) to Sharif, a pardon granted to politicians accused of corruption, saying that an agreement with the Sharifs would be equal to treason.
Sharif is the only Pakistani to be elected prime minister thrice. He has also been chief minister of Punjab, the country’s largest province, twice.