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Khursheed Shah not worried about Nawaz Sharif, but himself being sent to jail: info minister

Updated March 10, 2019

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Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry addresses a pubic gathering in Jhelum on Sunday. — DawnNewsTV
Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry addresses a pubic gathering in Jhelum on Sunday. — DawnNewsTV

Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry on Sunday shot back at the opposition regarding its criticism of the government over medical treatment of incarcerated former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, saying they were doing politics on the health of the PML-N supremo.

Addressing a public gathering in Jhelum, Chaudhry also responded to a statement given earlier in the day by senior PPP leader Syed Khursheed Shah, who had said that Sharif was not in good health and "if something happens to him it would be murder, for which [Prime Minister] Imran Khan will be responsible".

"You are not worried about Nawaz Sharif, you are concerned about yourself being sent to jail," the minister retorted, addressing Shah. He alleged that the "misdeeds" committed by the PPP leader were before everyone to see.

Chaudhry said Prime Minister Khan has offered Sharif to be treated for his cardiac ailment at the hospital of his choice by his preferred doctor and the government is even ready to facilitate the visit of the PML-N leader's doctors from abroad.

But Sharif's continued refusal to be shifted to hospital made it seem like it wasn't a matter of treatment, "but of politics", the minister said.

"Nawaz Sharif might not be doing this himself, but there is a section within N-league that is doing politics on his health because they have no public issue left on which they can do politics," the minister alleged.

Sharif is serving a seven-year jail term awarded to him in the Al-Azizia corruption case at the Kot Lakhpat jail. In recent days, his family members and PML-N leaders have raised concern about the former prime minister’s reportedly deteriorating health and treatment options available to him.

On Saturday, as Sharif continued to refuse to be moved to hospital, and upon his daughter's request, the Punjab government permanently placed a mobile cardiac unit in the Kot Lakhpat Jail to provide the imprisoned leader quick medical assistance in case of any emergency.

Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmeen Rashid had tweeted yesterday that Sharif had been given the option to receive treatment at any hospital of his choice, "but all he insists on [is] being sent abroad".

She said it was ironic that after "decades" of PML-N rule in the country, there was not a single hospital that Sharif finds "worthy of his own treatment".

Opposition's 'agenda'

Chaudhry said there was currently no real bone of contention between the government and the opposition, except that the former wants the latter to be held accountable for the way the nation's money was used by them.

"We say, 'don't cry, answer for [the money]' (Naa ro, hisaab do), they [the opposition] say NRO," he told the gathering, alluding to a National Reconciliation Ordinance-like deal with political rivals.

If the government did not ask them to account for the nation's money, Chaudhry continued, the opposition members would be ready to give Prime Minister Khan all the awards "including the Nobel [peace] prize".

"This is the only agenda of this opposition," he said, alleging that lawmakers from the rival parties are never heard talking about issues of public interest in the parliament.