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Nawaz Sharif left for London

19 November, 2019

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LAHORE:  Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday left for London in an air ambulance, accompanied by his brother Shehbaz Sharif and other personnel, including his personal physician Dr Adnan Khan.

According to immigration sources, Nawaz's medical files were handed over to the team traveling with the former prime minister in the air ambulance. Doctors also conducted blood tests prior to the departure.

The air ambulance arrived from Doha early morning at Lahore airport's Haj Terminal. An intensive care unit and an operation theatre has been set up inside while a team of doctors and paramedics are also on board.

Following his departure, PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb said that Nawaz's plane will stop in Qatar for a refuel. The medical team will also be changed.

The PML-N supremo was accompanied to the airport by a large number of supporters as well as party leaders. Nawaz's personal physician Dr Khan and PML-N President Shehbaz — both of whom are traveling with the former premier — are also at the airport. Party leaders, including Khawaja Asif and Ahsan Iqbal, were also present to see off the leader.

The former premier's mother, other family members and his daughter Maryam — who surrendered her passport to secure her release in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills case earlier this month — bid farewell to him at the house. A large number of supporters and workers had gathered outside Jati Umra since morning prior to Nawaz's departure.

In a separate statement issued earlier on Tuesday, Aurangzeb said that doctors completed a medical examination of Nawaz ahead of his departure and he was administered high doses of steroids and medicines to ensure that his condition remains stable during travel.

The development comes a day after the interior ministry issued a notification, allowing the former prime minister to travel abroad for medical treatment, saying that the decision was an "interim arrangement" in the light of the LHC's order, which was passed last week.

In its notification, the ministry reproduced the undertakings provided by Shehbaz Sharif and Nawaz to the LHC in which the terms of their travel and return have been laid out. The former prime minister's name remains on the Exit Control List (ECL).

'Praying for Nawaz's recovery' Soon after Nawaz left, premier's aide Firdous Ashiq Awan wished Nawaz a "speedy recovery so that he can return and face [the courts]".

In a tweet, she said: "[We are] praying that God grants a complete recovery to Nawaz Sharif. We are praying for his health and [for his] speedy recovery so that he can return and face the law. With his conduct, Prime Minister Imran Khan has set a golden example of respect for humanity and supremacy of law."

Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry also reacted to Nawaz's departure and said that the "journey from 'why was I expelled' to 'expel me for God's sake' is now approaching its end".

"When such leadership demands respect for vote, it actually insults the democratic process," he said in a tweet. "I sympathise with those workers of the PML-N who consider Nawaz Sharif their leader and tire themselves day and night."

Later, in a press conference in Islamabad, Chaudhry said that the government was praying for Nawaz's health. He added that the "impression that an NRO had been granted should not be there".
LHC order

After much deliberation and meetings, the government had agreed to allow Nawaz to travel abroad, with the condition that indemnity bonds amounting to Rs7-7.5 billion be furnished. The PML-N had rejected the condition and had taken the matter to the LHC, which — in a blow to the Centre — ordered the federal government to remove his name from the ECL without any conditions. The verdict was issued after Nawaz signed a court-approved undertaking, saying that he would return to the country within four weeks.

Shehbaz too signed an undertaking, which stated he would "ensure return" of his brother "within four weeks or on certification by doctors that he has regained his health and is fit to return back to Pakistan". Nawaz was allowed to leave the country for a period of four weeks, extendable on the basis of medical reports.

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