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November 15, 2019

Bonds and bans


November 15, 2019

Life is the most precious commodity for humans; and protecting life is the chief function of any state. It does not appear that in the case of three-time former Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif this has been recognized by the government. For now, Nawaz Sharif’s name remains on the ECL despite his critical health condition which doctors say must be treated overseas. In what has been seen as an insensitive decision, the government has linked permission for him to travel abroad to an indemnity bond of Rs7 billion to be guaranteed by members of his family. The lawyers for the former prime minister have moved the LHC regarding this unusual condition. The court has issued notices seeking a reply from the government.

Beyond legal matters we have the question of how the government has handled the matter since Nawaz Sharif became seriously ill a month ago, with his platelet count falling below the safety range despite attempts to treat the condition. In such critical circumstances surely the government would have realized that attempting to keep Nawaz on the ECL would end up damaging the government. There is no need to alienate so many people. A federal cabinet meeting held on Tuesday was also divided on the issue with several ministers, including ironically enough the minister for human rights speaking out strongly against allowing Nawaz Sharif out of the country.

Nawaz Sharif is not well. Any sensible government would realize that if unfortunately, his health continues to deteriorate it will be held responsible by a very large number of people. There is a need for reason, good sense and simple humanity to prevail. The jibes made over social media about Nawaz’s health simply make the existing situation still more unpleasant. The former prime minister should ideally be able to get treatment abroad without any conditionalities in a dignified fashion as befits a former head of government and a leader who owns a place in many hearts.

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