LAHORE: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, who is serving seven-year imprisonment in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills corruption case, was on Thursday sent back to jail from the Services Hospital after he refused to be shifted to any of three other health facilities in Lahore offered by the Punjab government.
“Giving in to the ‘demand’ of Mr Sharif, the Punjab government shifted him back to Kot Lakhpat jail,” a government official told Dawn. He said that although the Services Hospital’s multi-disciplinary medical board had recommended that Mr Sharif be shifted to a cardiac health facility in view of his heart issues, the three-time prime minister had refused to go to other health facility for treatment. “Mr Sharif remained stubborn and did not budge from his stance,” he added.
Questioning the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government’s ‘non-serious’ attitude towards her father’s health, Maryam Nawaz said: “We do not need the government’s charity with regard to the treatment of Nawaz Sharif. Mian sahib said he should be sent back to the jail because of the government’s non-serious attitude towards his health issues.”
Talking to reporters outside the Services Hospital, she said four successive medical boards had been formed to evaluate the health of Mr Sharif. “First he was shifted to the PIC and then the Services Hospital. It is a known fact that Mr Sharif has heart complications, but despite this he was taken to the Services Hospital which does not even have treatment for heart patients. It [government] wanted to shift Mian sahib to the PIC [Punjab Institute of Cardiology] which we refused. Mian sahib said he was not a gypsy. He insisted on going back to jail as he could not tolerate more humiliation,” she said and declared that “we will not seek mercy from the government”.
PML-N files resolution in Punjab Assembly demanding former premier’s treatment abroad
Ms Nawaz said her father’s ailment was not taken seriously. “I remained silent and did not do politics on any issue. But now politics is being done on the issue of my father’s health. If anything happened to him the PTI government will be responsible for this,” she warned.
She said Mr Sharif was not seeking any facilities in jail like others. “One night in jail Nawaz Sharif had pain in chest. He called for help but no one turned up. This was an example of callousness and political revenge. The government will have to give answer to this.”
In reply a question about fissures in the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, she said: “The PML-N is united and will remain so.”
Nawaz Sharif’s mother also met him in the hospital and prayed for his health and release.
Punjab Information Minister Fayazul Hasan Chohan told Dawn that on the recommendations of the Services Hospital’s medical board, Mr Sharif was asked to go either to the PIC, Sheikh Zayed Hospital or Jinnah Hospital (Lahore), but he refused.
“The board in its report mentioned that Mr Sharif has heart and other seven or eight health issues and he should be shifted to any of the three hospitals for his treatment, but he refused. We cannot force the patient,” Mr Chohan said.
He alleged that Mr Sharif in fact wanted to go to London that was why he was refusing treatment in local health facilities. “He wants nothing short of going to London,” the minister said, adding that Mr Sharif would be provided best treatment in jail as well.
The PML-N submitted to the Punjab Assembly a resolution demanding treatment of Nawaz Sharif abroad. Filed by PML-N MPA Hina Pervaiz Butt, the resolution stated that no special heart ward was present in the Services Hospital and the PTI government had failed to provide better health treatment to Mr Sharif. “The government should allow Mr Sharif to have treatment abroad,” it said, demanding that the government remove his name from the Exit Control List on humanitarian grounds.
Mr Sharif was shifted to the Services Hospital from Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat jail on Saturday on the recommendations of the third special medical board. The fourth medical board of the Services Hospital said Mr Sharif’s treatment was possible in any specialised cardiac health facility in Pakistan.
After examining all results of his tests, the medical board has reached a unanimous decision that Mr Sharif needs some kind of cardiac intervention. For the purpose he should be shifted to a cardiac institute. Mr Sharif had heart issues because of his previous history of some diseases, including high blood pressure, diabetes and kidney problem, said the fourth medical board.
Published in Dawn, February 8th, 2019