By Hamza Ameer
Lahore, May 8 | Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) president and Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly, Shehbaz Sharif, was stopped from leaving the country despite having court orders to go abroad for medical treatment.
Sharif was stopped and offloaded from a Doba-bound flight during early hours of Saturday. After arguments with the immigration officials, he was informed that there was a problem with the system update.
The drama at the airport unfolded after the airline issued Shehbaz Sharif a boarding card. However, after arriving at the immigration counter, he was informed that he cannot board the plane, reason being the system had not been updated yet for him to leave the country.
Sharif was granted a one time permission by the Lahore High Court (LHC) to fly abroad on health grounds. He is a cancer patient and had informed the court that he was advised by his doctors to get treatment done in the United Kingdom (UK).
The LHC granted him permission to go abroad on medical grounds from May 8 to July 3, scheduling the hearing on his petition, seeking removal from the blacklist on July 5.
At the airport, Sharif showed the court orders to the immigration officials, who insisted that until the system was not updated, Sharif’s name remains on the blacklist or the no-fly list.
“Shahbaz Sharif was held back at the behest of Prime Minister Imran Khan and Special Assistant to Prime Minister Shahzad Akbar”, said PML-N spokesperson Mariyum Aurangzeb.
“Restraining him from travelling abroad is in contempt of court. The claim regarding system not being updated is false,” she added.
Mariyum Auranzeb lashed out at the government for coming down to mean maneuvers.
“The government has come down to outright mean maneuvers, but this does not make any difference to Shahbaz Sharif,” she said.
On the other hand, the government has decided to seek all legal avenues against the court decision to allow Shahbaz Sharif to travel abroad.
Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry termed the court decision as mockery of the law.
“Shahbaz Sharif has been involved in money laundering worth billions. For him to run away like this would be great misfortune for the country,” he said.