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PM Khan allowed Nawaz Sharif to leave for London: Rasheed

Says majority of cabinet members were not in its favour

SAMAA | - Posted: Sep 9, 2020 | Last Updated: 1 year ago
Posted: Sep 9, 2020 | Last Updated: 1 year ago

A meeting between then prime minister Nawaz Sharif and then opposition leader Imran Khan in Islamabad in 2014. (File photo)

Prime Minister Imran Khan was the one who made the final decision to allow Nawaz Sharif to leave for London to get medical treatment, Railways Minister Sheikh Rasheed said Wednesday.

In an interview with SAMAA TV’s anchorperson Nadeem Malik, the minister said that a majority of cabinet members were not in favour of letting Nawaz go abroad.

“I was among the 11, 12 or 13 out of 54 (cabinet members) who were of the opinion that he (Nawaz Sharif) should be allowed to leave,” he said. “Others were of the opinion that he should not be allowed to leave.”

PM Khan made the decision to let him leave for London, Rasheed said. “Imran Khan said that ‘I have been told by my doctors that his health is bad so we should allow him to go abroad’.”

Nawaz was jailed in December 2018 for corruption in relation to his family’s ownership of a steel mill in Saudi Arabia. In November 2019, the government allowed him to leave the country to get medical treatment in London after his health deteriorated. He hasn’t come back since.

The Islamabad High Court has now declared him a proclaimed offender after he failed to appear before the court in the Toshakhana corruption reference.

Rasheed believes that there is no future of the Sharif and Zardari families in Pakistani politics.

Commenting on Maryam Nawaz’s politics, Rasheed said only a “revolution” could make her a leader. He believes the army has a role “everywhere” in Pakistan and Maryam and her father want to damage this role.

“Pakistan Army is the guarantor of this country’s integrity,” the minister said. “Politicians only issue statements.”

Sharif family and its relationship with the army commanders

Rasheed, who has been a part of several governments, including that of Nawaz and Pervez Musharraf’s, also spoke about Nawaz’s relationship with army commanders. “There was no general with whom Nawaz Sharif had good relationship.”

Regarding Musharraf’s martial law, he said asking an army chief to land somewhere else was not the right decision.

“Asking a man who was with so many passengers to land somewhere else, I think Pervez Musharraf’s case was stronger,” Rasheed said.

The minister said that Nawaz’s relationship with the army started deteriorating after the Dawn leaks controversy. “It stared from the Dawn leaks,” he said.

In October 2016, the Daily Dawn had carried a front-page story, highlighting confrontation between the civilian and military leadership of the country.

The story was dubbed by the military as a “breach of national security”. Pervaiz Rashid, the information minister in Nawaz’s government, and then adviser to PM on foreign affairs Tariq Fatemi were removed because of their alleged involvement in the Dawn leaks saga.

“Qamar Javed Bajwa was his own choice,” Rasheed said. But the relationship with the commander doesn’t make any difference because he represents the institution and not himself, he added.

Differences within the PML-N

The minister claimed that Shehbaz Sharif would soon part ways with the Nawaz-league. The party is divided into two groups, according to him.

The first group includes Maryam, Nawaz, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, and Ahsan Iqbal. The other one comprises Shehbaz Sharif, Khawaja Asif, Ayaz Sadiq and Rana Tanvir.

“Shehbaz Sharif is in hot waters,” Rasheed said, referring to corruption cases against the leader of the opposition.

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Nawaz Sharif, Imran Khan, Sheikh Rasheed Book, Qamar Javed Bajwa
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