Sharif will decide if he wants treatment in Pakistan or abroad - close aide

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In this file photo, Pakistan's former prime minister Nawaz Sharif speaks during a UK PMLN Party Workers Convention meeting with supporters in London on July 11, 2018 (File/ AFP)
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In this file photo, former Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif looks out the window of his plane after attending a ceremony to inaugurate the M9 motorway between Karachi and Hyderabad, Pakistan on Fe. 3, 2017. (REUTERS)
Updated 25 October 2019

Sharif will decide if he wants treatment in Pakistan or abroad - close aide

  • Pervaiz Rashid says imprisoned former PM yet to be properly diagnosed
  • Says Sharif satisfied with ongoing treatment by competent team of doctors

ISLAMABAD: Jailed former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif would decide himself if he wanted to be treated in Pakistan or abroad, close aide Pervaiz Rasheed said on Thursday, days after the ex-premier was shifted to a hospital with an alarmingly low platelet count.
Sharif, 69, is a three-time prime minister, and currently serving jail time after a conviction for corruption last year. He denied the charges, which he says are politically motivated.
On Monday, Sharif was taken to a hospital in the city of Lahore. Members of his Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PMLN) party have variously claimed since that his health was deteriorating and the government was delaying treatment.
His brother, PMLN president Shehbaz Sharif, has filed a petition in the Islamabad High Court asking that Sharif be released on medical grounds and allowed full treatment in Pakistan or abroad.
“He [Sharif] is still in jail, and will decide himself if he wants his treatment in Pakistan or abroad,” Pervaiz Rashid told Arab News in a phone interview, adding that the former PM’s ailment was as yet not properly diagnosed and he would undergo a series of medical tests in the next 24 hours.
“His disease is yet to be diagnosed fully, doctors have yet to ascertain a basic cause behind his ailment before starting the proper treatment,” Rashid said. “This is an ongoing process and premature to say anything about improvement or no improvement in his health.”
He added that Sharif was satisfied with the treatment he was currently receiving and was being examined by a team of competent doctors.
Prime Minister Imran Khan said in a Twitter post that “political differences notwithstanding,” his sincere prayers were with Sharif for his health.
“I have directed all concerned to ensure provision of the best possible health care and medical treatment to him,” Khan tweeted.
The Punjab government has constituted a six-member medical board to examine Sharif. Professor Dr. Mahmood Ayyaz, the head of the board, told media some of the former PM’s tests were unsatisfactory and his platelet count had dropped to 10,000.
“The tests with unsatisfactory results are being conducted again,” he told reporters, declining further comment.
The Sharif party’s secretary for information, Maryam Aurangzeb, earlier condemned what she called a “deliberate delay” in moving Sharif to hospital and in his treatment.
“The government is crossing all limits of political victimization against PMLN and the Sharif family,” Aurangzeb said.
The government denies that the legal action against Sharif and other members of his family, including elder daughter Maryam Nawaz, who is also in detention for suspected graft, is politically motivated.


EU safety agency suspends Pakistani airlines’ European authorization

Updated 01 July 2020

EU safety agency suspends Pakistani airlines’ European authorization

  • The step has been taken due to concerns about the country’s ability to ensure compliance with international aviation standards
  • PIA expects the ‘earliest possible’ lifting of suspension after action by the government and the airline

ISLAMABAD: The European Union Air Safety Agency (EASA) has suspended Pakistan International Airlines’ (PIA) authorization to fly to the bloc for six months, the airline said on Tuesday, in a major blow to the country’s flag carrier.
Separately, the safety agency said it took the action due to concerns about the country’s ability to ensure compliance with international aviation standards at all times.
The suspension follows Pakistan’s grounding of 262 of the country’s 860 pilots — including 141 of PIA’s 434 — whose licenses the aviation minister termed “dubious.”
“EASA has temporarily suspended PIA’s authorization to operate to the EU member states for a period of six months effective July 1, 2020 with the right to appeal,” PIA said in a statement. It added it would temporarily discontinue all its flights to Europe.
Confirming the move in an emailed statement, the EASA referred to a recent investigation by Pakistan which it said showed a “large share” of pilot licenses to be invalid.
Pakistan’s grounding of the pilots followed a preliminary report on a PIA crash in Karachi that killed 97 people last month.
PIA said it is in contact with the EASA to take corrective measures and appeal against the decision, adding that it expected the “earliest possible” lifting of the suspension after action by the government and the airline.
The EASA also suspended the authorization of another Pakistani airline, Vision Air International.
Vision Air International did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.
Following the EASA’s decision, the UK Civil Aviation Authority said it, too, was withdrawing PIA’s permit to operate from three of its airports, as required under law.
“PIA flights from Birmingham, London Heathrow and Manchester airports are suspended with immediate effect,” a spokesman for the UK authority told Reuters.
The three were major flying destinations for the airline.
Meanwhile, Pakistani pilots and their union, the Pakistan Airlines Pilots Association (PALPA), say there are discrepancies in the government’s list of pilots with licenses deemed dubious and are demanding a judicial investigation.
PIA and private airline Air Blue have also queried the list with PIA saying 36 of its pilots mentioned had either retired or left the airline, while Air Blue said it no longer employed seven of nine pilots on the list.
“It contains names of highly educated and qualified pilots who have passed all the tests,” PALPA’s president, Chaudhry Salman, told Reuters. “We want a fair and impartial resolution to this matter.”
An official at Pakistan’s aviation ministry, Abdul Sattar Khokhar, said they did not have full details of the discrepancies. “The issue is being sorted out in consultation with airlines and civil aviation authorities.”