Pakistan's Punjab government on Tuesday decided not to extend the bail granted on medical grounds to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, who is currently in London for treatment, according to media reports. Punjab Law Minister Raja Basharat said the Punjab Cabinet decided that there was "no legal, moral or medical basis without any concrete proof" for the further extension of the bail to the 70-year-old leader.
Amid bickering between the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party and Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), the three-time prime minister left for London for medical treatment on November 19, 2019. On December 23, he sought an extension in his stay abroad on the expiry of the four-week period granted by the Lahore High Court. Following this, the Punjab government constituted a four-member committee to decide on it and sought fresh medical reports to make an "informed decision".
Addressing a press conference alongside other members of the Punjab Cabinet, including provincial health minister Dr Yasmin Rashid, Basharat said: "The committee has decided that Nawaz Sharif's bail can't be extended further." He explained that the Lahore High Court order said Sharif was granted bail for eight weeks. However, a further eight weeks had passed since then as discussions were underway, the minister said.
"Till the Punjab government had not made a decision, this bail was to be automatically extended, therefore it was extended for 16 weeks," he said.
After the passage of 16 weeks, Basharat said the provincial government wanted to be informed about developments regarding Sharif's health on the basis of which a decision to extend his bail could be made.
"Till today he (Nawaz) has not been admitted in any hospital in London," Basharat said, adding that nothing specific had been shared with the government regarding the PML-N supremo's health. Basharat said the Punjab government would now share its decision with the federal government, which will decide on the matter.
In January, a picture of Sharif at a London restaurant along with some members of his family had surfaced on social media, raising questions about the condition of the former premier's health. Following this, on January 15, the Punjab government rejected Sharif's medical reports which had been submitted on December 23.
Once again on January 30, the Punjab government asked Sharif to submit fresh medical reports so that a decision on his request seeking more time abroad could be made.