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KARACHI: A day after approving budgetary proposals for the next financial year via video link, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif underwent successful open-heart surgery at a London hospital and was moved to an intensive-care unit in a stable condition on Tuesday.

“Prime Minister shifted to ICU. Alhamdolillah stable,” said one of the many tweets of the PM’s daughter, Maryam Nawaz, who used the social media platform to update her two million followers, as well as the nation, about her father’s successful surgery — his second major medical procedure since 2011.

According to Maryam, the PM’s surgery began at 0800 GMT and continued for over four hours in which “all arteries successfully grafted”. She also thanked the nation for praying for the successful surgery and early recovery of her father.

In a picture that she posted on Twitter, PM Sharif was seen lying in a hospital bed with his eyes closed.

She later told a Geo television programme that the PM’s four arteries were operated upon during the surgery. “We thought that there will be two to three grafts .... but after operation doctors told [us] that they carried out four grafts,” she added.

She said that the PM would return to the country within three weeks.

Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif told reporters outside the London’s Harley Street Clinic that the doctors who operated upon the prime minister congratulated Hussain Nawaz, his nephew and the PM’s son, over the successful surgery.

He said his elder brother was fast recovering and would soon return to the country on the advice of doctors.

While special prayers were offered and goats and cows were sacrificed across the country, members of the National Assembly from both sides of the aisle also sank their political differences for a while and jointly prayed for the speedy recovery of the PM on the request of Speaker Ayaz Sadiq. Representatives of almost every parliamentary party said good things about the premier.

Even the PM’s staunch opponent and chairman of the opposition Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, Imran Khan, sent a bouquet of flowers to the hospital where the PM was currently admitted and wished for his early recovery, although he told an ARY TV programme on Tuesday that it would be a lot for the elder Sharif — as well as for the country — that a patient after his open-heart surgery had to run the country.

“Complications will arise if the PML-N doesn’t come up with an alternate chief executive,” he said, according to a tweet from the official Twitter account of the PTI.

In what appears to be a reply to the PTI chief’s remarks, Maryam, who is being seen as the heir apparent of Nawaz Sharif, said at the Geo TV programme that the PM would recover and fight against all conspiracies with renewed zeal.

She believed that the PM, who has been embroiled in the Panama Papers leaks controversy, would become more popular if his opponents raised the political temperature.

Also on Tuesday, President Mamnoon Hussain and other officials of the presidency offered a collective prayer for the successful surgery and early recovery of the PM.

Muttahida Qaumi Movement chief Altaf Hussain also sent a bouquet to the London residence of the PM conveying his wishes for his successful surgery.

Social media websites Twitter and Facebook were also abuzz with PM-related posts the whole day.

Both supporters and detractors of the PML-N prayed for the successful surgery of the PM. But there were some who expressed their resentment over the treatment of the PM abroad at state expense.

However, an AFP report quoting an unnamed government official said that the PM was paying for all the expenses from his own pocket and “none of the state expenditures are involved”.

Published in Dawn, June 1st, 2016