Pakistan’s former PM Nawaz Sharif fighting for life: doctor

Supporters of former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif pray for his recovery outside a hospital in Lahore. (AP)
Updated 29 October 2019

Pakistan’s former PM Nawaz Sharif fighting for life: doctor

  • Nawaz Sharif is currently in hospital in the eastern city of Lahore after receiving ‘indefinite’ bail on medical grounds in one of his graft convictions
  • Sharif’s name remains on a stop list, meaning that he must remain in the country for the time being

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s former prime minister Nawaz Sharif is “critically unwell,” his doctor said Tuesday, days after the three-time leader now serving a prison sentence for corruption suffered a minor heart attack.
Sharif is currently in hospital in the eastern city of Lahore after receiving “indefinite” bail on medical grounds in one of his graft convictions, with an Islamabad court due to decide on another Tuesday.
His name remains on a stop list, meaning that he must remain in the country for the time being.
“Former PM #NawazSharif, critically unwell, is fighting the battle for his health & life,” his personal physician, Adnan Khan, tweeted Tuesday.
In addition to the minor heart attack, Sharif has a low platelet count, both of which are being further complicated by “deteriorating kidney functions” Khan added.
He said poor blood sugar and blood pressure control was taking its toll, adding that “establishing a definitive diagnosis and subsequent management poses considerable risk to #NawazSharif’s fragile and unstable health.”
The 69-year-old former premier, known as the “Lion of Punjab,” was first taken to hospital last week when his blood platelet count dropped to dangerous levels.
The Supreme Court disqualified Sharif from politics for life over graft allegations in 2017, and he later received a seven-year jail sentence.
He denies all the corruption charges against him and claims he is being targeted by the country’s powerful security establishment.
Sharif’s arch-rival Imran Khan took power in 2018, and has launched a high-profile and controversial anti-corruption drive.


UK vaccine frontrunner could be available in first half of 2021

Updated 25 min 17 sec ago

UK vaccine frontrunner could be available in first half of 2021

  • Human trials of the vaccine will expand to hundreds more people in the “coming weeks.”

LONDON: A leading British scientist has said a Covid-19 vaccine could be rolled out across the country as early as the first half of next year.

Professor Robin Shattock leads the team working on Imperial College London’s vaccine, one of the UK’s two most promising research programs. He told Sky News: “We anticipate if everything goes really well, that we'll get an answer as to whether it works by early next year.

“Assuming that the funding is there to purchase that vaccine, we could have that vaccine rolled out across the UK in the first half of next year.”

Shattock also warned that there was “no certainty” that any of the vaccines currently being developed would work, but said the risk of that is “very, very low.”

Imperial College London is now conducting human trials of their vaccine, with 15 volunteers having received it so far. Shattock said this will be ramped up in the “coming weeks” to include another 200 to 300 patients.

“I think we're very lucky in the UK that we have two very strong candidates, the one from Imperial, the one from Oxford, and so we’re pretty well placed, but there's still not a certainty that either of those two will work,” he said.

Oxford University is also developing a vaccination for Covid-19, in partnership with British-Swedish pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca.

While Shattock said he hopes Imperial College London’s vaccine will be available for the whole of the UK in the first half of next year, it is unclear how long it would take for it to be available outside of the country.

The UK, European Union and the US have all invested huge sums into vaccine development, and struck deals with pharmaceutical companies worth hundreds of millions of dollars each to ensure first-in-line access to successful vaccinations.

However, international organizations such as the UN, International Red Crescent and Red Cross, and Doctors Without Borders have raised concerns that the world’s poorest countries will be unable to access vaccinations and effective Covid-19 treatments due to rich countries outspending them.