ISLAMABAD  -  Setting aside the merit of the verdict of Islamabad High Court, rejecting suspension of term and grant of bail to former premier Nawaz Sharif purely on health grounds, the court order has at least brushed aside the possible clandestine deal of Sharif to move out of the country.

Although Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz central leaders, who were present in the jam-packed courtroom to hear the court decision on the bail plea of Nawaz Sharif, were stunned to hear the verdict of dismissal of the petition as they were expecting a ruling in their favour as in the earlier case where the former premier was granted bail in another conviction by the trial court in a corruption case.

The PML-N leaders in a brief media chat after handing down of the IHC verdict said that they would challenge the verdict in appellate forum expressing their optimism to secure justice for their leader through the available legal channels.

Former PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi along with Khawaja Asif and Maryum Aourengzeb said that they had all respect for the courts but were not convinced with the merits of the verdict and would challenge the same.

The PML-N leaders once again denied the impression of deal and questioned that if they wanted to slice a deal then which would be the second party in it.

Political circles were also optimistic about a favourable verdict in the case as rumours of some clandestine deal between Nawaz Sharif and powers that be had overshadowed the merits of the case whereas the legal and constitutional experts had already termed it a weak case to contest from defence point of view.

Some insiders in PML-N said that the legal team of Nawaz Sharif was also not optimistic about the outcome of the case and even they were not convinced to build their plea purely on health grounds but on insistence of the senior party leaders it was decided to move the bail application on health grounds.

The impression of Nawaz Sharif entering into some sort of deal actually emanated from his demeanour following his return from abroad and landing in jail and his complete silence after demise of his spouse which is still persisting.

Neither Mian Nawaz Sharif nor her daughter Maryam Nawaz has spoken a word on their silence and backing out from their mantra of ‘Vote Ko Izzat Do’. At the same time there was no word either from their side on the deal which gave credence to the impression that something was cooking up behind the curtain as the history of the country was full of such episodes in the past and Nawaz Sharif and his family also remained beneficiary of such covert deals.

However, the second and third tier of PML-N leadership repeatedly denied any deal with government or some other power hub and ruled out any such thing in future as well. But, the silence of Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz and their sidelining from the hostile political line they had taken, once again raised doubts and create confusion in the minds of people about some behind the scene developments to get some favour for Sharif family again.

Some political analysts were of the view that Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz wanted to keep this confusion as this way, they would keep the hope in their voters and supporters alive that soon hardships of Sharif family would be over – no matter as a result of some deal with establishment – and they would be free to do politics and come back in power.

On the other hand, PTI government which had taken a very strong and categorical position against the corruption and their leaders had made it clear that they would not let the looters and plunders of the national wealth go scot free, seemed softening their stance and now people with dovish tendency in the party are saying that in case the courts allow PML-N leaders to go abroad for treatment, they would not resist or create hurdles in their way.

But again, the point is that can PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz afford to stay abroad for longer or indefinite period in case of securing permission to get treatment abroad. The answer from most of the PML-N leaders was a big ‘NO’ as all of them believed that shying away of Nawaz Sharif from cases would ruin the political future of Sharif family and would also result in disintegration of the party which so far stood united in the face of gigantic crises.