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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) on Tuesday said that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif will return back and face the country's courts after getting the medical treatment abroad. Speaking at a news conference, senior PML-N leaders including Khawaja Asif, former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, and party secretary-general Ahsan Iqbal said that the party respects the decision of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) "but it would not be wise to jeopardize Nawaz Sharif's life by forcing him to return to Pakistan without the completion of his medical treatment".

Khawaja Asif said that that Nawaz Sharif went abroad through the orders of the court and on the insisting of government doctors, government ministers and Prime Minister Imran Khan. He said Nawaz Sharif made history by leaving his wife on the death bed and returning to face the justice system, despite having serious reservations.

He pointed out that it was decided that Nawaz Sharif would consistently submit his medical reports and the government would present verification of his medical condition through the High Commissioner in the UK. The PML-N leader said that Nawaz Sharif has been submitting these reports regularly and the government has not challenged a single one of these reports.

On the other hand, he added that the government did not provide any plausible proof through the high commission that Nawaz Sharif was lying. He said that the former premier has never dodged the judiciary, and has always faced the courts, which he will again, when he returns after the completion of his treatment.

Asif lamented that government representatives were ridiculing Nawaz's illness, adding that as soon as Nawaz recovers and doctors approve travel, he would come back to the country and face the law. "The verdict issued today is not in our favour, but we respect it," he said, while referring to non-bailable arrest warrant issued for Nawaz Sharif by the IHC.

Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was of the view that that Nawaz Sharif's returned has been delayed because his treatment has been delayed due to Covid-19 protocols. He criticized Prime Minister Imran Khan for ridiculing Nawaz's medical condition and wishing death for him by saying that he sent the PML-N Quaid abroad because he thought he would die in a couple of days, so he did not want that to happen in Pakistan during his government.

He said Imran Khan wants to jeopardise Nawaz's life "because his entire existence and the existence of his government depends on bashing and victimization of the PML-N leadership."

He said that the prime minister is trying to avoid the real questions being asked by the people about the soaring inflation, unemployment, tripped tariffs of electricity and gas, inaction over Indian annexation of Kashmir and all other issues because this government has been an astounding failure in every possible way.

Ahsan Iqbal demanded resignation of Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid, saying that if the government feels Nawaz's reports were forged, then these were approved by her. He said that Prime Minister Imran Khan should resign as the reports were presented in the Cabinet, and Nawaz Sharif was consequently allowed to travel.

"PML-N believes in upholding the law. We accept every decision," he added. The PML-N leaders also stated that their party's lawyers quoted multiple precedents including that of Pervez Musharraf who was exonerated, while he was a proclaimed absconder in a death penalty case. With all these reports, facts, Nawaz's past conduct and legal precedents, it is now a test of Pakistan's judicial system, they added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020

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