MIANWALI: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday sounded sceptical about the veracity of medical reports on the health of Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) supreme leader Nawaz Sharif, saying he was shocked to see the way the former premier ran up the stairs of the air ambulance.
“After seeing him going up the plane stairs, I once again went through the medical reports that suggested he has heart problem, his kidneys are also not functioning properly and that he is a diabetic,” Mr Khan told a gathering in his hometown where he opened work on several mega projects.
His comments on the health of Mr Sharif came two days after Chief Justice of Pakistan Asif Saeed Khosa’s remarks that it was the prime minister himself who had allowed “someone” to go abroad.
PM Khan noted that Mr Sharif’s medical reports listed 15 diseases, including cardiac complications, which suggested that the ex-premier was on the verge of demise. “But after seeing Nawaz board the air ambulance, I wondered if the former prime minister got healthy with the first glance of the London-bound airplane,” he said.
It may be recalled that Prime Minister Khan had on Nov 19 said his government allowed Nawaz Sharif to travel to London on humanitarian grounds. He had also said the government allowed him to go abroad on the recommendations of the medical board.
PML-N reacts angrily, saying the premier must be tried on hate speech charges
The Punjab government’s official medical board had in its Nov 10 report confirmed the critical condition of Mr Sharif and recommended that he may be allowed to be shifted abroad to a centre of excellence of his choice at his own risk.
The medical report was received by the Ministry of Interior on Nov 11.
The PML-N reacted angrily. “(As) your performance is zero you (PM Khan) have become mentally unstable,” PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb said in response to the PM’s remarks. She said Mr Khan must be tried on hate speech charges and demanded his medical check-up before his [next] speech.
N-League general secretary Ahsan Iqbal regretted that the prime minister was doubting test results even from those conducted by the Shaukat Khanum Cancer Hospital [founded and overseen by Mr Khan] and at the state-run hospital under the supervision of Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid.
Reiterating his pledge of not striking any deal with the corrupt elements, the prime minister said he saw such an act as betrayal to the nation. He alleged that Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and Shahbaz Sharif had joined the JUI-F-led Azadi march just to put pressure on him to give up following the corruption cases and enjoy a smooth sailing in the political arena.
“As long as I am alive, I won’t do such a treachery with my country by striking a deal with them. The youth will become my team and I will face them [the opposition],” he said amid applause by the crowd.
The prime minister said the parties which recently held a march had never been concerned about the country, rather they were worried about the fate of their own politics and their own future gripped by fears of accountability for their alleged corruption.
He said that such mafias always resisted change in the country and had convinced the previous rulers to give up following corruption cases in return for protection of their respective seats. “But Imran Khan is not here to protect his seat, rather to bring about a change. Change will not occur unless these mafias are defeated. Otherwise, there is no future of the country.”
The prime minister lauded his economic team, claiming that with their efforts the national economy had finally been put on the right track with the current account deficit turned into surplus. He assured the nation that his government would very soon overcome the inflation problem which, he said, was the result of defective policies of the previous governments.
He said the rupee was devalued because of money laundering through hundi or hawala, wondering why the Sharif family members had absconded and were not facing the courts. He was satisfied at the level of rupee devaluation, saying he had rather feared it to be Rs250 against the dollar. He said his government had also overcome the current account and fiscal deficits left behind by the previous government.
The prime minister told the gathering that being challenged by the opposition he had produced before the court 60 documents in 10 months, proving all money trail of his property in London as well as residence in Banigala, contrary to the opposition which had furnished fake documents.
Talking about the local government elections, he said these would be held soon in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to ensure transfer of resources down to the village level where people would monitor the performance of schools, hospitals, police stations and other functions.
Cities would elect their nazims on the patterns of mayors of London and New York who would form their own teams and would be empowered to generate revenue as per their own policies, PM Khan said, adding that the country could not progress unless such a local government system was enforced.
Published in Dawn, November 23rd, 2019