Unstable health condition stalls Nawaz’s shifting

Updated October 29, 2019

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A team of doctors spent another day trying to figure out the cause of a sudden drop in the platelet count of Nawaz Sharif, who had been admitted to Lahore Services Hospital a week ago, amid speculation that he might have to be taken to some other health facility within the country or abroad for better treatment. — AFP/File
A team of doctors spent another day trying to figure out the cause of a sudden drop in the platelet count of Nawaz Sharif, who had been admitted to Lahore Services Hospital a week ago, amid speculation that he might have to be taken to some other health facility within the country or abroad for better treatment. — AFP/File

LAHORE/ISLAMABAD: A team of doctors spent another day trying to figure out the cause of a sudden drop in the platelet count of Nawaz Sharif, who had been admitted to Lahore Services Hospital a week ago, amid speculation that he might have to be taken to some other health facility within the country or abroad for better treatment.

However, senior leadership of his party ruled out any such possibility, arguing that no decision could be taken before seeing any improvement in his condition.

Meanwhile, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) will on Tuesday resume hearing of the petition seeking suspension of sentence handed down to him in Al-Azizia reference, as the interim bail granted to the former prime minister expires on Tuesday (today).

He has been under treatment at the Services Hospital since Oct 21. His platelet count hovered around 28,000 — some 122,000 less than the minimum normal level — on Monday. “Despite doctors’ best efforts, it has not yet been diagnosed why Nawaz Sharif’s platelets drastically drop to dangerous level,” his personal physician Dr Adnan Khan tweeted.

IHC to hear NAB, Punjab CM over petition seeking suspension of Azizia case verdict as interim bail of ex-PM expires

The doctors’ panel is faced with a tough task. They are striving to create a balance between the doses for increasing his platelets and the medicines being given for his heart condition. According to the medical board, headed by Services Hospital principal Dr Mahmood Ayaz, the patient’s platelets were fluctuating owing to the medicines being administered to him for his cardiac disease.

“The diagnosis is yet to be ascertained,” he said, adding he had severe atherosclerotic ‘coronary and carotid artery disease’ with co-morbidities (HTN, DM, CKD) and because of subsequent serious effects of treatment he had developed NSTEMI (Non-ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction); being managed on ACS protocol.

There were rumours that his family might press for shifting him to the Sharif Medical City — close to his Jati Umra residence — despite government spokesperson’s assertion that Nawaz Sharif was happy with the treatment he was getting from the 10-doctor panel at Services Hospital. Such a move, however, could help the government pass on the sensitive responsibility of his treatment to his family.

Regarding his shifting to any other health facility within the country or abroad, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz secretary general Ahsan Iqbal said: “The first and foremost effort of doctors is stabilise Mian sahib’s condition. Once his condition is stabilised the question of his going abroad will arise.” Asked if Mr Sharif was being persuaded to leave for London for his better treatment, Mr Iqbal reiterated: “This will be looked into once Mian sahib’s condition improves.”

Meanwhile, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) will resume hearing of the petition seeking suspension of sentence handed down to him in Al-Azizia reference on Tuesday when his interim bail was going to expire.

Earlier on Oct 25 the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had been asked to submit its response to the petition by a division bench of the IHC comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani. The court also had sought a comprehensive report from the medical board constituted to examine Nawaz’s health besides asking his personal physician Dr Adnan Khawaja to apprise the bench about his health condition.

Only a day later, the counsel for the ex-PM moved an application before the IHC stating that his condition was critical and he required immediate release on bail. The NAB did not oppose the bail on “humanitarian grounds”, while the federal and provincial governments neither opposed nor favoured his release. Subsequently, an interim bail was granted to the former premier till Tuesday.

However, for linking the interim bail order to some kind of “deal”, contempt of court proceedings were conducted against TV anchorpersons by a single-member IHC bench comprising Chief Justice Athar Minallah.

The special division bench, which granted interim bail to the former premier, pointed out that the provincial government did not follow the jail manual and prison rule that allowed them to release an inmate on medical grounds. The bench also directed Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar to appear in person before the court on Tuesday.

The then judge of accountability court Mohammad Arshad Malik had sentenced seven years imprisonment to Nawaz Sharif in Al-Azizia Steel Mills reference in December 2018.

Seven months later his party released a secretly recorded video of judge Malik in which he confessed of convicting the ex-premier under duress.

The judge, however, later accused PML-N supporters of blackmailing him for his acquittal and lodged a complaint with the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) against suspects Nasir Butt and others.

The IHC chief justice will also take up the petition of Nasir Butt in which the latter requested to produce evidence against the ex-accountability judge on judicial record.

Published in Dawn, October 29th, 2019