If reports are to be believed, former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s departure from the country for medical treatment abroad is almost a reality. His family members are certain that he will be travelling to London soon, while the government has been very open in admitting that his removal from the Exit Control List (ECL) is a mere formality.

This is quite a drastic change from the politics of few weeks ago, when the government was adamant that no special treatment be given to the Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) leader at any cost – why the shift in policy?

While the rumour mill has been rumbling non-stop, painting scenarios of infamous “deal” between the government and the opposition, we must realize that all of this is wild and unfounded speculation.

Nawaz Sharif’s sudden and life threatening deterioration of health shocked all sections of the country. For once the rhetoric of “no compromise” had to be reconciled with the harsh reality of human mortality. The government saw, in a moment of true uncertainty, the terrible fallout of a popular political leader dying in government custody after he was denied any humanitarian respite. The harms of that eventuality far outweigh the benefits of doggedly sticking to the principle of “no compromise’.

Hence, this change in policy, from both the government and its subordinate institutions, is born out of a real concern for Nawaz Sharif’s health. It is telling that Prime Minister Khan - who has been Nawaz’s harshest critic - directed his spokespersons and other party leaders not to politicise the elder Sharif’s health.

This is a wise decision that will help reduce the polarisation within the country. Here was a genuine medical emergency, and by burying the hatchet and being humane the government has come out the more sensible party.