Naya Pakistan’s Naya Rules: Shehbaz Sharif Denied Right to Travel Abroad in Violation of Court Orders


The hallmark of a democracy is when the rules are the same for everyone, whether in government or opposition. The trademark of autocratic rule is when those out of power are denied even the basics due to them.


The recent decision by the Imran Khan led government to stop PML-N President, and former Chief Minister of Punjab, Shehbaz Sharif, from traveling abroad for medical reasons, shows that despite all the promises of a ‘Naya Pakistan,’ the underlying Purana Pakistan remains intact.


All this is despite a court order giving Shehbaz Sharif one-time permission to travel abroad for medical treatment. Immediately after the court’s decision, key government members were “up in arms” and “criticised the court for a “hurried” decision and are considering an appeal once court activity resumes after Eid.”


Some months ago, the same government tried to prevent former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif, from travelling abroad.


As an editorial in Dawn asked “Why is the government that paranoid that Shehbaz Sharif will not return? After all, he is the opposition leader and party president, and has in the past returned to the country even after living in London for some months. The attitude of the government here is only strengthening the perception that it is leaving no stone unturned when it comes to hounding political rivals — a criticism opposition parties have levelled against it for the last two and a half years.”


Author: Zahid Khan