The Punjab government of Pakistan has formed a committee to review the application filed by former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for the extension of his stay abroad for his medical treatment on grounds that his condition is "very critical". Punjab Law Minister Mohammad Basharat Raja is said to head the four-member committee, a source told an international daily.
The former Prime Minister had flown to London last month after the ruling Imran Khan-led Pakistan government gave him one-time permission to travel abroad for medical treatment during his bail period of four weeks without the condition of submitting indemnity bonds. Shariff had written to Punjab home secretary to seek an extension for his stay abroad for his medical treatment after the end of his four-week permission for the same.
Nawaz Sharif, 70, had been serving a seven-year prison term at the Kot Lakhpat Jail in Lahore since December 24, 2018, when the accountability court convicted him in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills case — one of the three corruption cases filed in the wake of Pakistan’s apex court's July 2017 order in Panama Papers case.
Nawaz Sharif and his family have been denying any wrongdoing and alleged that the corruption cases against them were politically motivated. He was removed as prime minister following a judgment by the Supreme Court on July 28, 2017. The top court also ordered to launch three cases of corruption against Sharif and his family.
Sharif's family and lawyer had insisted that the former premier should be set free as the judgment was tainted and the judge who delivered the verdict was also removed. His conviction took an ugly twist when a video of judge Arshad Malik surfaced in which he confessed that he convicted the three-time premier under immense pressure from certain elements. Malik was removed after his daughter Maryam released the video.
(With inputs from agencies)