ISLAMABAD: Deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif, jailed earlier this month over graft charges, was shifted to the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) on Sunday night after developing serious cardiac complications.
Sharif and his daughter Maryam were arrested on July 13, minutes after they returned to the country seeking to revitalise their flagging party ahead of a July 25 national election.
They were moved to Adiala jail in the garrison city of Rawalpindi and face lengthy sentences.
The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo complaints of pain in the chest and arms and doctors have requested prison authorities to transfer him to a hospital to give him emergency cardiac care and monitor his deteriorating condition.
Following the doctor’s advice, the caretaker government immediately directed the jail authorities to shift Sharif to Pims’ cardiac centre so that his condition may not aggravate.
“Doctors at Adiala jail have observed changes in the ECG of Nawaz Sharif,” Caretaker Punjab Chief Minister Hasan Askari Rizvi said while talking to the media in Lahore earlier.
An ECG, or electrocardiogram, is a test that checks the heart’s electrical activity.
“We cannot take any risk about Sharif’s health and have directed the jail authorities to shift him to either Rawalpindi Institute of Cardiology or Pims (Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences) immediately.”
Sharif, who returned from Britain, was handed a 10-year jail term on July 6 by an anti-corruption court, while his daughter and political heir was sentenced to seven years in prison over the purchase of luxury flats in London in the 1990s.
The PML-N supremo lives with diabetes and has also undergone a bypass surgery. He currently takes medication for his heart condition, cholesterol and diabetes.
“He’s a heart patient and now suffering from cardiac ischemia; therefore, it is necessary to shift him to a hospital to avoid risks,” said doctors.
Earlier, cardiologists of the Rawalpindi Institute of Cardiology, including its executive director Azhar Mehmood Kayani, recommended him to be shifted to the hospital after finding him dehydrated to avoid cardiac and diabetic complications.
A five-member medical board of Pims consisting of consultants of various specialties had advised his hospitalisation last week..
Hospital sources say the deposed prime minister had been resisting the doctors’ advice because of his daughter who is also serving seven-year sentence in the same jail.
But doctors said it would be difficult to give him proper emergency care if any cardiac event took place as the jail hospital lacked advance facilities.
In case of any cardiac emergency, it takes hours to the patient to a specialised cardiac health facility as the jail is situated outside the Rawalpindi city.
At around 9.30, he was shifted to the second floor of the cardiac centre where a room of presidential suites has been converted into intensive care unit.
A heavy contingent of police and other security personnel were deployed in the hospital. The PML-N supporters also reached the hospital after hearing the news of admission of their leader there.
Meanwhile, Punjab Information Minister Ahmed Waqas Riaz said that the jailed PML-N leader was being shifted to Pims on medical grounds.
He said the Punjab government took the decision of shifting him on the advice of cardiologists, Dr Nadeem Malik and Dr Zulfiqar Ghauri of Pims, adding the heart-related blood tests – Troponin and ECG — of Sharif were recorded abnormal.
To a query, he said the government had also acceded to Sharif’s request to see his personal physician, Dr Adnan Khan, in jail.