LAHORE: The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government claimed on Monday that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif was keen to go to London (for treatment), adding to speculation that something behind the scenes is going on in this respect.
The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has rejected the reports about any deal with regard to allowing Mr Sharif to go to London for treatment. However, it wants treatment of Mr Sharif in accordance with his medical reports at Services Hospital.
“Nawaz Sharif is keen to go to London. His medical reports are normal but he wants to go to London,” Punjab Information Minister Fayazul Hasan Chohan said at an event here on Monday.
When asked if something was going on between the Sharif family and the government, the minister said: “They (the Sharif family and PML-N) have been blackmailing the government with regard to the health of Nawaz Sharif. They want relief for the Sharif family. But after Sharif’s medical reports, it has been established that his condition is not serious as he had ‘just’ a small stone in his kidney which can be operated upon here.”
In reply to another question that since Prime Minister Imran Khan had declared that he would not give NRO to the opposition leaders, the PML-N was reaching out to the establishment for the purpose, Mr Chohan said: “It is appealing to the government and other institutions but will get no relief.”
Federal Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry told reporters in Islamabad that the medical reports of Nawaz Sharif did not provide ‘reasons’ for NRO for him.
Earlier, Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rashid asked Imran Khan to take the nation into confidence if any deal with the PML-N was in the making. “I hope PM Khan will not mind as there are reports that PML-N and PPP are paying money for striking a deal with the PTI government. If it is true, please take the nation into confidence,” Mr Rashid said and added that PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif was active in cutting a deal.
The Islamabad High Court will hear Nawaz Sharif’s bail application on medical grounds on Feb 6. Mr Sharif is serving a seven-year imprisonment in Al-Azizia Steel Mills case.
The principal of Services Hospital, Lahore, Mahmood Ayaz, said on Monday that no suggestion regarding Mr Sharif’s treatment abroad had been discussed (among the medical board members). “The medical board will examine all test reports of him and then suggest his treatment in that light,” he said.
Monday was the third day of Mr Sharif in Services Hospital. So far the tests detected a stone in his left kidney and suggested that he did not suffer angina in recent days.
PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb told Dawn that “no backdoor” efforts were under way to secure a deal for the Sharif family.
“It is mere propaganda of our political opponents. Had Mr Sharif wanted a deal he would not have come back from London to go to jail along with his daughter Maryam,” she said. “We want best treatment of Mian sahib in the light of his test reports,” she added.
When asked that a couple of PML-N leaders like MNA Malik Pervaiz have asked the government to allow Mr Sharif’s treatment in London because he had his early heart treatments there, Ms Aurangzeb said: “We want best treatment of Mr Sharif.”
Former National Assembly speaker Ayaz Sadiq said Mr Sharif was not well. “Mian sahib did not want to come to the hospital. He has heart complications but he is shifted to Services Hospital. Why was he not sent to the Punjab Institute of Cardiology?” he asked.
When asked about any possible deal, Mr Sadiq said the former premier wanted to go back to jail.
Published in Dawn, February 5th, 2019