Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif on Wednesday said the attorney general of Pakistan’s January 24 letter to him seeking fresh reports on the medical condition of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif was driven by “political motivation” and is tantamount to “contempt of court” since the matter was already pending with the Lahore High Court.
The response, written by the personal secretary to the opposition leader, Murad Ali Khan, and addressed to the AGP’s secretary, Khalid Khan Niazi, said that the letter from the AGP office had been issued for the purposes of “media trial” to support the “dying political rhetoric” of the federal cabinet.
Shehbaz’s response comes a day after a fresh report of Nawaz’s medical health was submitted to the LHC by Advocate Amjad Pervez. According to that report, doctors have again advised the PML-N supremo against travelling to Pakistan. The last medical report of the former premier was submitted to the LHC on Aug 11, 2021.
The office of the AGP had on Jan 24 warned Shehbaz through an official correspondence that he could face contempt of court proceedings if he failed to furnish fresh reports regarding the medical condition of his elder brother.
The letter had recalled how the special medical board met on Jan 17, 2022, to examine the 29-page documents issued by Cardiothoracic Surgeon David R Lawrence. The board concluded that the documents did not provide any information about the current clinical evaluation, including blood reports, imaging results and any interventional procedures carried out so far on Nawaz Sharif.
The letter had stated that it was evident from the observations of the board that the opposition leader had not fulfilled his obligation to provide periodical medical reports from Nawaz Sharif’s doctor, as per his solemn undertaking and the order of the LHC.
“You are, therefore prime facie in violation of your undertaking and [the] order passed by the LHC on Nov 16, 2019,” the letter added.
The LHC had on Nov 16, 2019, allowed former premier Nawaz Sharif, who was serving jail terms for owning assets beyond means and corruption, to travel to the United Kingdom for a period of four weeks, extendable on the basis of medical reports. Nawaz hasn’t returned since then.
Nawaz, who had been diagnosed with an immune system disorder, was recommended by doctors to go abroad as his condition continued to deteriorate despite treatment in Pakistan.
Before the departure of the ex-premier, Shehbaz had submitted an undertaking to the court, saying:
“I do hereby undertake to ensure return of my brother Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, within four (4) weeks or as and when certified by doctors that he has regained his health and is fit to return to Pakistan. I further undertake to provide/send the periodical medical reports of the doctor duly notarised by the embassy to the registrar of this court.
“I also undertake that if at any stage, the federal government has credible information that Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif is living abroad despite his fitness to travel, a representative from Pakistan’s High Commission would have a right to meet his physician(s) to verify or confirm about his health.”
In his response to the AGP’s letter today, Shehbaz pointed out that the requisite reports were being submitted in the office of Registrar LHC periodically. “I have never breached or violated the undertaking in any manner whatsoever.”
“I am at a loss to understand as to how the officer acting under the directions of Attorney General for Pakistan could not comprehend and understand concluding part of the undertaking,” he said.
Shehbaz, through his secretary, said he had his “reasons to believe that the issuance of the letter was prompted by political motivation and considerations extraneous to law, Constitution of Medical Board, proceedings by it and the demand raised on its basis through the letter ran counter to the mandate”.
He added that the issuance of the letter was a “contrived attempt to cause prejudice and influence pending proceedings”.
The PML-N leader further called the letter from the AGP office “unwarranted, unjustified and without lawful authority”.