Minister for Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives Asad Umar has revealed that it was “100 percent Prime Minister Imran Khan’s decision” to send former prime minister Nawaz Sharif to London for his medical treatment.
Talking to leading news channel of Pakistan on Saturday night, Umar said that he was one of six to eight senior PTI leaders in the room when the decision to send the former PM abroad was taken.
The premier was presiding over the meeting held to discuss whether or not to allow Nawaz to travel for treatment abroad.
“This was first discussed in a cabinet meeting,” he said, adding that the decision was entirely made by the prime minister and he did not deny that the decision was not his.
He said that there was a difference of opinion over whether the former PM should be allowed to leave.
Umar said the prime minister now believed that the medical reports on the basis of which the decision to allow Nawaz to leave the country for treatment was taken, were falsified.
The programme host pointed out that the PM blamed the judiciary for letting the former prime minister get away and asked Umar whose decision was it to allow the elder Sharif to proceed abroad for treatment.
Clarifying his position to another media outlet, he said that he made the remark in the context of the question that was being asked; whether permission to leave the country was given to Nawaz by the government or someone else.
“In response to that question, I said the government was fully independent to take its own decisions and the decision about Nawaz’s departure was solely taken by the prime minister,” Umar said.
Nawaz, 71, who was convicted in a corruption case, was allowed to travel abroad for treatment in November 2019. In the past, the prime minister and his aides had tried to justify their decision several times, saying that the government had allowed him to leave on the basis of ‘genuine medical reports’.
Before his departure, while Nawaz was undergoing treatment at a hospital in Lahore, the prime minister had also claimed that he had secretly sent medical experts to inquire about his health.
Umar admitted that he was one of the people who had supported the decision to allow Nawaz to leave the country.
He said Dr Faisal Sultan and other medical experts had also gone through Nawaz Sharif’s medical reports and suggested that he should be allowed to proceed abroad.
“Medical experts were of the view that ‘most probably’ nothing will happen to Nawaz, but medical reports suggested that his condition could be life threatening,” he said.
Umar claimed that in view of Nawaz’s medical history, in addition to his new ailment, the government was not ready to accept any blame for keeping him from getting treatment because of a political vendetta.