Bilawal alleges Zardari not given access to specialist doctors, personal physician

Updated November 05, 2019

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This file photo shows former president Asif Ali Zardari leaving the Islamabad High Court building on June 10, the day of his arrest by NAB. — AP/File
This file photo shows former president Asif Ali Zardari leaving the Islamabad High Court building on June 10, the day of his arrest by NAB. — AP/File

PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto on Tuesday alleged that his father, former president Asif Ali Zardari, has not been given access to specialist doctors and his personal physician.

"Our family is increasingly concerned about his health. If anything happens to our father, this government will be held responsible," he said on Twitter.

Zardari was brought to Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) from Adiala jail in Rawalpindi on Oct 22 and admitted to the cardiology department’s VIP ward. He underwent a number of tests and was declared to be out of danger.

The former president had complaints of backache, weakness and anxiety.

On Monday, a medical board at Pims attached Zardari to a Holter monitor to check variations in his heartbeat.

“The device has been put on because of the continuous variation in the patient’s heartbeat,” Pims media coordinator Dr Waseem Khawaja told Dawn.

He added that the patient would stay at the hospital until all his tests come back normal.

A Holter monitor is a battery-operated portable device that measures and records the heart’s activity for 24 to 48 hours, or longer, depending on the type of monitoring used.

A Cardiac Centre doctor said the device has four or five electrodes that are attached to the chest.

He said patients are put on the device when they complain of dizziness because this can occur due to a low heartbeat. “Zardari is sick, as he is diabetic, has arthritis and has received stents,” he said, adding that he had all these medical issues when he was president as well.

PPP leader Rehman Malik, a day earlier, sought relief for Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur on the pattern of legal remedy provided to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam.

“Asif Ali Zardari and Faryal Talpur are high-profile under-trial political personalities and they must not be treated like convicted prisoners,” he remarked.

Zardari was arrested by the National Accounta­bility Bureau (NAB) on June 10 after cancellation of his pre-arrest bail by the Islamabad High Court in the fake bank accounts case.

Prior to his arrest, additional prosecutor general of NAB Jahanzeb Bharwana had told the court that the anti-graft watchdog was investigating billions of rupees transactions through 28 bank accounts for which the investigation team required custody of the accused persons.

Shahbaz 'deeply concerned'

Also on Tuesday, PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif said he was "deeply concerned and extremely alarmed" over Zardari's ailment.

"The government must ensure the provision of the former President's legal rights. Adequate medical treatment is Asif Ali Zardari's basic human and legal right!" the former Punjab chief minister tweeted.