ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday departed for London for a routine medical check-up, which was repeatedly postponed due to his official engagements over the past few months.
According to the premier’s spokesperson, Nawaz will undergo a detailed medical check-up which owing to his national engagements was postponed repeatedly.
However, sources in the ruling party said the PM was suggested to spend a week in London to relieve his ‘stress and anxiety’ because of the situation developed after Panama leaks. “PM Nawaz will also spend time with his children in London,” the source added.
The PM would spend the week with his children at his London residence, sources said, adding the PML-N was unhappy of his decision to address the nation on the issue of Panama Papers. It was, however, suggested by daughter Maryam Nawaz to clear his position in public.
A massive leak of 11.5 million tax documents on April 3 exposed the secret offshore dealings of world leaders and celebrities, also naming three of the premier’s children for owning London real estate through offshore companies.
The premier’s visit comes after Finance Minister Ishaq Dar cancelled his visit to the United States on the instructions of PM Nawaz. “In view of the prime minister’s programme to proceed to (the) United Kingdom for medical checkup, I have decided not to proceed to Washington to attend the Spring meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF),” Dar said in an official handout issued on Tuesday.
On Tuesday, Senator Ahsan claimed that Premier Nawaz, who is flying to London ostensibly for ‘routine medical check-up’, would, in fact, meet Asif Ali Zardari to seek his support. “Nawaz Sharif is going to London to pay a visit in the court of Asif Zardari,” he told journalists outside the Parliament House. However, he warned that if his party bailed the prime minister out, it would suffer politically. “I will convey my views to PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto and Co-Chairman Asif Zardari,” Senator Ahsan added.
A spokesperson for Nawaz Sharif was quick to rebut the claim. “The prime minister did not express a desire to meet the PPP leadership during his upcoming London visit,” Mussadek Malik said in a statement. No such meeting is scheduled, he added.