Politics over health?


PML(N) Quaid Mian Nawaz Sharif has understandably refused to go abroad for treatment after the Government gave him conditional permission requiring him to sign surety bonds of billions of rupees and a firm date for his return back to the country. Reacting to the apparently strange decision of the federal cabinet, PML(N) leader Ata Tarar said they have already submitted surety bond to the court and will not provide any further bonds.
It was acknowledged by almost all circles that health of the former Prime Minister, who is undergoing jail term in an accountability case, was critical and that he ought to be given permission to get treatment of his choice when all efforts by local teams of doctors to cure his complicated disease are not bearing any fruit. Apart from sympathisers of MNS, it was also agreed by the government leaders that there should be no politics over health and leaders with deep insight like Ch. Shujaat Hussain have been urging the authorities to use their discretion to allow Nawaz to go abroad for treatment. It, however, seemed that politics is prevailing over humanitarian considerations and this becomes evident from the Pressler Amendment type discriminatory condition attached to the permission. Legal experts too are expressing surprise over the decision terming it unjustified as his sentence already stands suspended by the court of law and he has also deposited necessary surety bonds to secure his bail. There is, therefore, absolutely no justification to demand fresh surety bonds of billions of rupees, which is being seen by the aggrieved party as humiliating and a sort of no to treatment abroad despite a court verdict. It was in view of the urgency of the situation that both Lahore High Court and Islamabad High Court acted swiftly to grant the bail so that any harm to his health could be prevented but the Government took too much time in deciding the issue of removal of his name from the ECL (despite precedents of removal of names within hours) and even then the permission comes with stringent conditions. Why to ask for fresh surety bonds when the court has the power to order confiscation of properties if the accused absconds? The demand that MNS give a firm date of return is also devoid of logic as how can one determine in advance what time the medical process would take. We hope that the Government would review its decision that has sent wrong signals all around.

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