Pakistan to let ex-PM Nawaz Sharif go abroad for medical treatment

Special Pakistan to let ex-PM Nawaz Sharif go abroad for medical treatment
Pakistani policemen stand guard on the gate of a hospital before shifting jailed Pakistan's former prime minister Nawaz Sharif (unseen), in Lahore on November 6, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 09 November 2019

Pakistan to let ex-PM Nawaz Sharif go abroad for medical treatment

Pakistan to let ex-PM Nawaz Sharif go abroad for medical treatment
  • Doctors in Pakistan ‘have failed to diagnose former prime minister’s ailment’

LAHORE: Pakistan’s ailing former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif intends to travel abroad for medical treatment after his name has been removed from the country’s no-fly list, one of his senior party colleagues confirmed to Arab News on Friday.

Sharif was disqualified from holding public office by the country’s top court in 2018 and was subsequently sentenced to 10 years in prison when another court found him guilty of living beyond his stated means of income.

The former prime minister was probed in a money laundering case by the country’s anti-graft body, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), when he was taken to a hospital in Lahore.

The doctors performed various medical tests and administered different medicines, but Sharif’s ailment could not be diagnosed and his blood platelets count remained erratic and unstable.

“Nawaz Sharif will be traveling abroad for treatment as doctors in Pakistan have failed to diagnose his medical problem,” Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Chairman Raja Zafarul Haq told Arab News. 

“They have advised him to undergo medical tests that are not possible in Pakistan.”

The PML-N formally requested that the Interior Ministry remove Sharif’s name from the Exit Control List (ECL), the party confirmed on Friday.

“(The former prime minister’s brother) Shehbaz Sharif submitted an application in the Interior Ministry to strike off the ex-PM’s name from the ECL,” Haq said. “He will go abroad once that is done.”

Earlier in the day, PML-N vice president and Sharif’s daughter, Maryam Nawaz, also demanded that her father be allowed to travel abroad for medical treatment.

“All treatment options in the country have been exhausted,” she told a group of journalists in Lahore.

“Doctors have used steroids, platelet-enhancing medicines and drips. However, nothing is working. They are still unable to diagnose the cause of his decreasing platelets, and that is a cause of concern.”

Dr. Mahmood Ayaz, who was leading the team of doctors that was treating Sharif at Lahore’s Services Hospital, suggested more medical tests be carried out, including a genetic examination which cannot be done in Pakistan.

“Certain medical tests — including a genetic test — is necessary to diagnose his disease. Genetic test facility is not available in the country and we have conveyed this to all concerned, including his family,” he told the media on the day Sharif was discharged from the hospital.

Maryam Nawaz said all necessary measures must be taken to save her father’s life.

“He must go abroad, if that is what it takes,” she told reporters.