- Need to end prevailing bitterness in politics
Sycophants have been the bane of many a leader in Pakistan in the past. They play upon the whims and conceits of the rulers, make them underestimate the consequences of their unwise actions and mislead them by painting rosy pictures of the situation in the country. Some of them have already added to the bitterness prevailing in the country by unseemly remarks about the health of ex-PM Nawaz Sharif and in support of imposing conditions on his travel abroad. Prime Minister Imran Khan has created problems for himself by falling into their trap.
Mr Khan has been misled to believe that by allowing Mr Sharif go abroad for medical treatment he would be violating his oft-repeated promise not to give an NRO to anyone. Despite realising the gravity of Mr Sharif’s condition, Mr Khan has predicated the ailing politician’s departure on an indemnity bond of Rs 7.5 billion and a return to the country within four weeks. This despite the former PM having already submitted surety bonds at the time of securing bail from two high courts. The demand is absurd as the government cannot act as a court seeking bonds and placing conditions of its own. Prominent lawyers including some attached to the PTI and its ally MQM have questioned the rationale, saying there is no space for indemnity bonds in the Constitution for removing someone’s name from the ECL. Some of government’s allies too have expressed reservations about the conditions imposed by the PTI administration. PML(Q) chief Ch Shujaat Hussain has said there should be no conditions for Nawaz Sharif’s travel abroad for medical treatment, warning that any untoward happening would inject unprecedented bitterness into the body politic with dire consequences for the national economy. He advised Mr Khan to avoid the lifelong stigma that is bound to be attached to his name in case this happened.
The PMLN has approached the Lahore High Court to remove the former PM’s name from the ECL. It would be embarrassing for Mr Khan if the court delivered a verdict rejecting the government’s conditions. This would also confirm the view that the PTI leadership had been playing politics with Mr Sharif’s life.