Pakistan's ailing former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is all set to leave for London after the Lahore High Court today allowed him to travel abroad for four weeks for medical treatment.
The four-week duration can be extended further on his doctors' recommendations, according to the court order.
Nawaz Sharif, 69, is suffering from multiple health complications, including erratic platelet count, and is currently being treated at his residence near Lahore where an ICU has been set up.
A two-member bench of the court headed by Justice Baqar Najfi announced the verdict after a marathon hearing of more than six hours.
"Nawaz Sharif can travel abroad (London) and stay there for four weeks. Extension to his stay is subject to his medical reports," a short order of the Lahore Court said.
It has ordered the Imran Khan government to remove his name from the no-fly list or the Exit Control List (ECL).
On Wednesday, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government granted Nawaz Sharif a one-time permission to travel abroad for his treatment for four weeks subject to him submitting indemnity bonds worth over Rs 7.5 billion.
On Thursday, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo challenged the condition in the Lahore Court, terming it "illegal".
The PML-N said that "every hour is important for the health of the three-time premier and if anything happens to him because of this delay, Prime Minister Imran Khan will be responsible."
Nawaz Sharif refused to submit indemnity bonds, saying it was a trap of Imran Khan to use them for his political gains.
"After the court's verdict, Nawaz Sharif is likely to leave for London in a couple of days," a PML-N leader said.
Nawaz Sharif's son Hussain Nawaz has arranged for an air ambulance and it is likely to arrive in Lahore tomorrow, he said, adding Nawaz Sharif's condition is very critical and he has to go to London for diagnosis and treatment of his disease.
His brother Shahbaz Sharif hailed the court's decision and said, "The prayers of my mother, the nation and supporters have been answered".
Shahbaz Sharif has signed an undertaking in the court pledging, "I will ensure the return of my brother within four weeks or on certification by doctors that he has regained his health and is fit to return to Pakistan. I will provide the periodical medical report of the doctor duly notarized by the embassy (in London) to the registrar of this court".
He further said, "I also undertake that if at any stage, the federal government has credible information that Nawaz Sharif is living abroad despite his fitness to travel, a representative from Pakistan's High Commission would have a right to meet with his physician(s) to verify or confirm about his health".
Shahbaz Sharif said that Imran Khan did "dirty politics" on the health of his brother. Mr Khan's attitude caused delay in his travel to London for his treatment.
According to the PML-N, doctors recently gave Nawaz Sharif high dose of steroids thrice for his expected travel which may have negative effects on his health, and all this has gone in vain because of the government.
Nawaz Sharif recently secured eight weeks' bail on medical grounds from the Islamabad High Court in the Al-Azizia Mills corruption case in which he was serving seven years imprisonment. He also got bail from the court in the money laundering case.
He agreed to go to UK for treatment, heeding doctors' advice and accepting his family's request. He was scheduled to leave for London on a Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight. However, he could not leave as his name was on the no fly-list.