LAHORE: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif was shifted to the Services Hospital from the Kot Lahkpat jail on Saturday for ‘better treatment’ on the recommendations of a third special medical board that had examined him in the jail last week.
The Punjab government directed the hospital authorities that “detailed medical examination/investigation/management” of Mr Sharif be carried out for “minimum required period”. However, the Services Hospital administration was not sure about the number of days he would be kept in the hospital. “We cannot say anything about duration of his stay in the Services Hospital at this stage, as first we will have to thoroughly examine him and carry out his tests,” a senior doctor at the hospital told Dawn.
As soon as the three-time premier was brought to the hospital amid high security, a good number of charged workers of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chanted slogans in his favour to express solidarity with the party’s supreme leader. He waved them back.
Strict security measures have been put in place in and around the hospital where he has been given a VIP room. Hospital staff served him tea and snacks before taking him for medical examination.
Jail superintendent asked to ensure ex-PM’s early return to prison in consultation with hospital authorities after tests, treatment
The report of the six-member special medical board, which was released by the provincial government on Saturday, said: “In view of Nawaz Sharif’s multiple co-morbidities (DM, chronic kidney disease, CVA, cardiac arrhythmias) and complex cardiac history with multiple cardiac procedures with complications abroad, it is advised that he be admitted for further investigations/management in a hospital where multidisciplinary care is available.”
The larger board comprising two brigadiers, a classified cardiologist and a classified electro-physiologist of the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology (AFIC), Rawalpindi, two assistant professors from the Rawalpindi Institute of Cardiology (RIC), and two professors of the Punjab Institute of Cardiology (PIC), said it “listened to Sharif’s complaints, evaluated his recent investigations — ECHO and Myocardial Perfusion scans”.
An official said: “In the light of this report, the Punjab government has decided to shift the high-profile NAB convicted prisoner (Sharif) to hospital.”
In a directive to the medical superintendents of the Kot Lakhpat jail, Services Hospital and relevant departments, the additional chief secretary said: “In exercise of powers under provision of Rules 197 & 173 of the Pakistan Prisons Rules 1978, the Punjab government accords sanction for shifting of high-profile NAB convicted prisoner Mian Mohammad Nawaz Sharif from Central Jail to Services Hospital Lahore to carry out detailed medical examination/investigation/ management for minimum required period.
“The jail superintendent will ensure early shifting of the prisoner (Sharif) back to jail in consultation with respective hospital authorities after requisite medical examination/investigation/management under foolproof security arrangements.”
At the Services Hospital, a three-member medical board, headed by Dr Mahmood Ayaz, has been constituted to examine Mr Sharif.
Earlier, two special medical boards of the Allama Iqbal Medical College/Jinnah Hospital, Lahore, and the PIC, Lahore, examined him in Kot Lakhpat jail. While the AIMC/Jinnah Hospital board had recommended his hospitalisation for “optimal treatment”, the Punjab government preferred to constitute a third medical board to examine him with the promise to act on its recommendations.
Dr Ayaz said the Services Hospital had received instructions to carry out a thorough examination of the patient. “We have examined Mr Sharif for an hour and carried out his different tests. On Sunday, some other tests will also be carried out and any decision [about his further stay in hospital] will be taken in the light of the reports of the tests.”
Criticising the PTI government for paying no serious attention to the health of the three-time prime minister, PML-N spokesperson and former information minister Marriyum Aurangzeb said in the light of his medical reports Mr Sharif should have been taken to the best cardiac facility. She also chided the Buzdar administration for not handing over the report of the larger medical board to the Sharif family. “The government is not apprising Nawaz Sharif’s family of his health, which is a criminal act,” she remarked.
Mr Sharif is serving a seven-year imprisonment in Al-Azizia Steel Mills case.
Published in Dawn, February 3rd, 2019