Sharif's travel to London in limbo as his name figures in no fly list

Wednesday 13th November 2019 05:55 EST

Islamabad: Uncertainty over the withdrawal of Nawaz Sharif's name from Pakistan's Exit Control List (ECL) has affected the medical treatment of three-time former Prime Minister of Pakistan in Lahore, Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) leader and his daughter Marriyam Sharif said. "The uncertainty of the ECL withdrawal process has created problems for doctors. It is difficult for doctors to decide whether or not to give more steroids to increase platelets," she said and added that Sharif's life was at great risk.

"Increasing steroids may endanger Sharif's life. As time goes on, his health may become irreparable. The high dose of steroids can complicate his health," she said. Sharif was expected to leave for London on Sunday to seek further treatment, however, there is uncertainty over the withdrawal of his name from the ECL. His name was placed on the ECL since he is an accused in high profile cases of corruption.

The Imran Khan government is working to clear the decks to allow its political rival to leave Pakistan. Sources said Sharif is likely to leave for London to seek further treatment, but his daughter Maryam may not be able to travel with him. However, Sharif’s brother Shehbaz Sharif is free to go out of the country. A source in the Pakistani government said that “only Mian Nawaz Sharif’s name is under consideration” for travel clearance out of Pakistan. Maryam’s request to travel with her ailing father may also be considered, although the source refused to confirm whether it will be taken up formally. Since she is an accused in the Chaudhary Sugar Mills (CSM) corruption case, she has had to submit her passport in the Lahore High Court.

Shehbaz is all set to travel with his brother. In fact, he has taken upon himself to arrange the medical facilities for Nawaz in the UK. A Pakistan government source said, “His (Shehbaz Sharif) name is not in the ECL and he is free to move. He is arranging all the medical facilities (for his brother) in the UK and he is definitely going with MNS (Mian Nawaz Sharif).”

Earlier last week, Shehbaz made a formal request with the Interior Ministry to remove Nawaz's name from the Exit Control List. The Ministry of Interior, however, has had to make a request to the National Accountability Bureau. “Ministry of Interior received a formal application from Shehbaz for removal of Nawaz's name from ECL on health grounds and treatment abroad. Ministry of Interior has referred the matter to NAB to which the removal request was also sent,” a ministry statement said. Sharif was admitted to the Services Hospital in Lahore on October 22 from Pakistan's anti-graft body's custody after his platelets dropped to a critical low level of 2,000.

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