LAHORE         -       Media reports say that after top doctors’ team’s failure to accurately diagnose and treat his ailment, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif has agreed to medical advice and family’s persuasion to go abroad for the treatment of his multiple diseases.

“Nawaz Sharif has finally agreed to go to London after the doctors told him categorically that they had already exhausted all medical treatment [options] available in Pakistan and going abroad is the only option left,” an important newspaper reported on Friday quoting a Sharif family source.

Other reports said that the government is holding consultations to remove the name of Mr Sharif from the Exit Control List, a formality in the absence of which he can’t leave the country.

Naeemul Haq, an aide to the prime minister, has been quoted by the TV channels that Mr Imran Khan has no objection to Mr Sharif’s plan to go abroad.

It is said that the former premier would go to London next week. It’s not clear how long he would stay in the United Kingdom, where his sons Hussain and Hassan, and Samdhi Ishaq Dar, all declared absconders by courts, have been staying for years and have no plan to surrender to the law.

There are indications that his younger brother Shehbaz Sharif would accompany him to London. But Maryam Nawaz will not be able to go with him because her passport is with the court.

The situation would become clear in the times ahead.

Political observers say that Mr Sharif’s departure from Pakistan would bring about a significant change in the political situation. It would be like the PTI rulers’ dream come true. The pressure on the government would evaporate to a large extent, after which it would be in a stronger position to deal with the JUI-F’s sit-in in Islamabad that started on Oct 31.

The longer the stay abroad of the PML-N supremo, the easier for the PTI to stay in power.

But this time the departure of Mr Sharif is much different from his December 2000 banishment to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia during Gen Musharraf’s rule. That deal was kept secret by the Sharifs even from their close friends and allies.

The first indication of the Sharifs’ intention to go abroad was given by Begum Kulsoom Nawaz.

Mr Sharif had been kept at Attock after his conviction by court.

One day Begum Kulsoom Nawaz visited her husband there and returned to Lahore in the afternoon.

The old airport was operative then. As she came out of the VIP Lounge, reporters waiting for her surrounded her. (The writer was also among them).

She started crying. “Mian Sahib’s blood pressure is very high. It is not coming under control. Either treat him properly or let us go abroad”.

This was the first time that an important member of the Sharif family talked of going abroad.

However, the deal between the military ruler and the Sharifs was finalized under the guidance of then constitutional wizards Sharifuddin Pirzada. Only a few people knew what was going on behind the scenes.

It was kept secret to an extent that even much trusted colleague Syed Ghous Ali Shah, detained at a cell next to Mr Sharif’s in a Karachi jail, did not know that the former premier had left the country. He used to complain subsequently if there was not another seat in the same plane (for him).

He parted ways with the PML-N as the leadership had not trusted him at this juncture.

After the banishment of Mr Sharif, Gen Musharraf ruled the country very comfortably. He completed the first three years in power in the light of the Supreme Court judgment and then became president of the country as a result of a referendum.

Now if Mr Sharif goes to London, Imran Khan will be the happiest person and will be able to implement his party’s manifesto.