As directed by Prime Minister Imran Khan, the government has allowed Nawaz Sharif to access the hospital and doctors of his choice for the medical treatment that he needs, but the incarcerated former prime minister — according to a latest tweet by daughter Maryam Nawaz — is adamant that he will not move from the jail. While also tweeting that her father’s heart disease has worsened, according to cardiologists sent by the government yesterday for his examination, the worried daughter has appealed to the jail authorities to immediately establish a resuscitation and life-saving unit on jail premises.
Apparently, Sharif — who is serving a seven-year jail term at Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat jail awarded to him by the Supreme Court in the Al- Azizia corruption case — is unhappy over the way he is being “moved around from hospital to hospital” in what his family and party leaders call a deliberate attempt of humiliating the three-time prime minister of the country as part of the PTI government’s political victimisation campaign. Government officials, on the other hand, claim that Sharif’s insistence on not moving from the jail is a pressure tactic meant to force the government to allow him to fly out of the country on the pretext of receiving medical treatment from those who know his health condition the best.
There is no room to raise doubts about the health condition of Sharif who is well known to have heart complications and has undergone heart surgeries in 2011 and 2016. While Sharif’s health is indeed a sensitive matter, Prime Minister Imran has offered his predecessor all what he can, stopping only short of allowing him to move abroad — something that obviously does not fall within his domains, and needs permission from the courts. Remember the Islamabad High Court has rejected a petition seeking Sharif’s release on bail on medical grounds, and a subsequent appeal is pending with the Supreme Court.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 9th, 2019.
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