LAHORE: Pakistan's Opposition leader Shahbaz Sharif, who has been charged with corruption, is all set to join his "self-exiled" elder brother and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in London after the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Friday allowed him to travel abroad for his medical treatment.
The court granted Shahbaz a "conditional permission" to travel to the UK for medical treatment from May 8 to July 3.
Shahbaz had petitioned the court, saying he is a cancer survivor who now needs treatment outside of Pakistan.
"Keeping in view the past conduct and travel history (of PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif), the fact that name of the petitioner (Shahbaz) is not in Exit Control List (ECL) at this moment.
The name of the petitioner is in blacklist that will not stop him from one-time visit to UK from May 8 to July 3 for his medical checkup," reads an order issued by LHC Justice Ali Baqar Najafi on a petition of Shahbaz.
Shahbaz is likely to leave for London on Saturday on a foreign airlines flight via Doha.
Shahbaz had challenged the placement of his name on a travel blacklist and sought one-time permission to go abroad for medical treatment.
"I have been a cancer patient and got treated in New York and London. I could not get treatment for more than seven months as I was in jail," he said, adding in light of the medical test report conducted in jail, there was need for immediate treatment.
The Imran Khan government reacted strongly on the court's decision to grant permission to Shahbaz to travel abroad.
"It is surprising that the man who is facing PKR7bn money laundering charges will celebrate Eid with his absconding brother Nawaz Sharif and absconding son and son-in-law in London," Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry said in a tweet.
He questioned that Shehbaz had submitted a guarantee for three-time premier and PML-N supreme leader Nawaz Sharif when he was going abroad for his medical treatment but he did not return.
"Now instead of issuing notice to Shahbaz for giving a fake guarantee and recalling Nawaz, he (Shahbaz) himself is allowed to go abroad," Chaudhry said.
On April 23, 2021, Shahbaz Sharif walked free from Lahore's Kot Lakhpat jail after about eight months behind bars in the money laundering and assets beyond means reference filed by the country's anti-graft body.
The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had alleged that Shahbaz's family had assets of around PKR16.5 million till 1990, which increased to over PKR7 billion in 2018 which were disproportionate to his known sources of income.
Declaring Shahbaz's release from jail as "death of selected Prime Minister Imran Khan's fake accountability narrative" PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb had said: "LHC judges had not only stamped Shahbaz Sharif`s innocence but also exposed the malicious intent behind the government's fictitious cases."
"The release of the Opposition leader is death of Imran Khan`s fake narrative on corruption," she said.
Sharif has been in London since November 2019 on "medical grounds".
The Imran Khan government has declared Sharif an absconder and cancelled his passport.
Sharif left the country after the court granted him bail in the Al-Azizia Mills corruption case in which he was undergoing seven years imprisonment in Kot Lakhpat jail Lahore.
He was also granted four-week bail on medical grounds to have his treatment abroad.
The government declared him an absconder after he failed to justify prolonging his stay in London.