RAWALPINDI/ISLAMABAD: Ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif was shifted to the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) on Sunday night under an extensive security cover provided by police after his health deteriorated in Adiala jail.
Earlier, after receiving a complaint from the ousted prime minister about pain in his left arm and chest, the jail doctors carried out electrocardiography (ECG) and found that his heartbeat was irregular. Besides, tests of his blood samples revealed clots in the blood.
Pims spokesperson Dr Waseem Khawaja told Dawn that Mr Sharif had been admitted to the Cardiac Centre and lodged in a second-floor room, called ‘President Room’.
“Earlier, there was a proposal to keep the patient at the second floor of a private ward, which has recently been renovated, but the proposal was rejected because healthcare facilities can be more promptly provided (to a heart patient) at the Cardiac Centre,” he said.
According to an initial check-up, “the patient is out of danger, but proper medical care is being provided to him,” the hospital spokesperson said.
In reply to a question, Dr Khawaja said that Pims had been put on a high security alert. Earlier, officials of different security and intelligence agencies, the Bomb Disposal Squad and other departments visited the Cardiac Centre and gave security clearance.
“It will be ensured that Mr Sharif gets all medical facilities and a medical board will check him on a daily basis,” Dr Khawaja added.
A large number of media persons were waiting at the entrance of the Cardiac Centre, but Mr Sharif was taken inside the facility through another gate.
Workers of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz raised slogans of “Mian we love you”, while activists of the rival Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf shouted slogans of “Go Nawaz go”.
A senior official of Adiala Central Jail said that the former prime minister had been ill for the last three days, but his condition was deteriorating, prompting the jail administration to inform the caretaker government about the situation.
After this, he said, the caretaker government of Punjab made a decision to shift Mr Sharif to the hospital. However, the former prime minister insisted that he be provided treatment in the prison and his personal physician should be called.
“Dr Adnan Khan, personal physician of Mr Sharif, was called to Pims where he went through test reports, examined the former prime minister thoroughly and managed to persuade him to get medical treatment at the hospital,” he said.
“Doctors had not informed Nawaz Sharif about the results of the ECG and other tests because it could have caused him anxiety,” the Pims spokesperson said.
“If a heart patient is suddenly informed about his bad condition, anxiety will further affect his health,” said a senior doctor who was part of the team which examined Mr Sharif.
“Maryam Nawaz was worried about the health of her father and soon after getting update about his health, she also requested Nawaz Sharif to get treatment at the hospital immediately,” he said.
Retired Maj Gen Dr Azhar Mehmood Kiani, the CEO of the Rawalpindi Institute of Cardiology, said that the ECG of Mr Sharif had been irregular for the last two weeks and dehydration had affected his kidneys.
“I recommended his shifting to hospital and other doctors agreed. Nawaz Sharif’s has lost weight over the last two to three weeks,” he said. “A heart patient needs immediate attention and certain facilities which are provided only in hospitals,” he said.
Mr Kiani said that tension and anxiety were harmful for a heart patient and that was why he had recommended that Mr Sharif be provided a tension-free environment.
“I warned the administration that the condition of Nawaz Sharif will worsen if he is not shifted to hospital,” he said.
On the other hand, sources said that the shifting of Nawaz Sharif to the hospital took more than four hours due to logistic problems.
They said that Islamabad police were requested to shift the former prime minister to the hospital while taking responsibility for his security. Before shifting Mr Sharif to hospital, the police had to make security arrangements.
They said that at the request of the Punjab government, the caretaker federal government issued special directives to Islamabad police.
The deputy commissioner of Rawalpindi, Dr Umer Jehangir, said that the Punjab home department had directed the district administration and police to clear the roads leading to Pims from Adiala jail for the shifting of Mr Sharif.
PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif, along with his daughter Maryam and son-in-law retired Capt Muhammad Safdar, was incarcerated in Adiala jail after the trio was convicted and handed down different prison sentences in the Avenfield properties reference by the accountability court.
Meanwhile, PTI chairman Imran Khan has prayed for Mr Sharif’s recovery and directed the party workers to stay away from the premises of Pims and not to hold any demonstration against the ousted premier.
Published in Dawn, July 30th, 2018