LAHORE: With a judgement of the Lahore High Court paving the way for former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s treatment abroad, doctors have begun giving him high doses of steroids that are expected to enable him to travel to London by an air ambulance.

Spokesperson for the PML-N Marriyum Aurangzeb says Mr Sharif will fly to London as soon as the air ambulance arrives at the Allama Iqbal Airport here on Tuesday morning.

The LHC had on Saturday allowed the PML-N supremo to travel abroad for treatment of his complicated ailments. Initially, a stay of four weeks abroad has been permitted to the ex-premier, who is serving a jail term in a corruption case. The stay may be extended if his condition doesn’t improve during this period.

The verdict given by a two-judge LHC bench dealt a blow to the PTI government that had been demanding submission of an indemnity bond worth billions of rupees by Mr Sharif to get his name off the Exit Control List.

Shahbaz thanks PML-Q, MQM for expressing sympathy for former premier

There seems to be confusion in the government ranks on the question of accepting the ruling. Some members of the ruling party, including federal minister Fawad Chaudhry, favour challenging the verdict before the Supreme Court, whereas others are in support of letting the former premier to go abroad. They feel that someone’s health should not be turned into a political issue.

Mr Sharif is struggling with extremely low platelet count as well as complicated diabetes, heart and kidney problems. Official and private medical boards have declared that the health complications warranted his treatment abroad as the country lacked appropriate facilities to diagnose the causes of low platelet count and handle the resultant situation.

PML-N president and Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif called on his elder brother at the latter’s Jati Umra residence on Sunday and discussed with him his treatment abroad.

Party sources said Mr Shahbaz along with Maryam Nawaz also consulted the doctors looking after Mr Nawaz and discussed with them the precautions needed during the long air travel.

They said the air ambulance would have at least one stopover en route to London as the former premier was in no shape to cover the long distance in one go.

Ms Aurangzeb said that doctors carried out a detailed examination of the PML-N supremo in the morning to find out if he is fit for the long travel.

Dr Adnan, the family physician of the Sharifs, said in a tweet that the former premier would go abroad “once he’s clinically stabilised, made travel-worthy & is safe for air travel”. He said the process would take 48 hours.

Besides Mr Shahbaz, Dr Adnan will accompany Mr Nawaz, who will be taken to the Harley Street Clinic, London, where Mrs Kulsoom Nawaz remained under treatment for throat cancer.

Meanwhile, Mr Shahbaz thanked the government’s allies — the PML-Q and MQM — for expressing sympathy for Nawaz Sharif.

He said he was thankful to Chaudhry Shujaat Husain and Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi as well as Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani for expressing their sympathies for the former PM as they promoted reconciliation and discouraged those who wanted political hostilities.

He also expressed gratitude to the PPP and ANP leadership for sending good wishes to Nawaz Sharif. Eulogising Mr Nawaz’s services to the country, Mr Shahbaz said the PML-N would continue his mission even during his absence.

Published in Dawn, November 18th, 2019