–Info minister says Nawaz wants treatment in London as he does not have enough faith in country’s hospitals
–Says Punjab govt is committed to providing healthcare facilities to former PM
—Criticises Opp for politicising Nawaz’s health
LAHORE: Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain Sunday said that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif may leave the country after entering into a plea bargain with the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).
Addressing a press conference along with Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasim Rashid here at the Press Information Department (PID) Office, he said the accountability process against Nawaz Sharif would not stop on the pretext of his bad health, adding that Nawaz Sharif would have to return every penny of the masses only then he could be allowed to leave the country.
He said the leaders of Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) were doing politics on the health of Nawaz Sharif and trying to halt the ongoing accountability process. He said Nawaz Sharif would have to bear the brunt of his deeds and he would be held accountable for them, adding that all the cases against Nawaz Sharif were instituted during the past regimes.
Rejecting media reports that Nawaz Sharif was not being provided best medical treatment, he said extraordinary medical facilities were provided to Nawaz Sharif to treat his cardiac, kidney and diabetes ailments but he had refused to avail the treatment within Pakistan.
He said, recently, Punjab Chief Minister’s spokesman Dr Shahbaz Gill alongside senior journalist Mujeebur Rehman Shami met Nawaz Sharif at Kot Lakhpat Jail to offer him the medical treatment of his choice within Pakistan but he declined.
The minister said despite Nawaz Sharif’s refusal to get treatment in the country, he said the Punjab government had established a mini-cardiac unit at the Kot Lakhpat Jail with three cardiologists and three technicians available round the clock, but Nawaz Sharif had not allowed them any access.
He said Nawaz Sharif, as a matter of fact, did not want to be treated in the country as he did not have faith in the health facilities being provided in the country which he and his brother Shehbaz Sharif built over three decades.
HIGH-LEVEL MEETING OVER NAWAZ’S HEALTH:
On the prime minister’s directives regarding the provision of best possible medical facilities to Nawaz Sharif, the minister said today a high-level meeting of all the relevant provincial departments, including Health Department and Prisons Department, reviewed in detail the measures taken so far in that regard.
He went on to give a breakdown of Nawaz’s health woes since his imprisonment in graft case.
He said the ex-PM had informed the Punjab government about his ailment through a letter on January 16, 2019. The provincial government promptly got him checked up from Dr Shahid Hameed, who referred him to the PIC [Punjab Institute of Cardiology, Lahore] for his further tests.
On January 22, the minister said, Nawaz Sharif was brought to the PIC where his various tests, including Eco and Thallium, were conducted. He was shifted back to the jail the same day.
He said on January 25, a six-member medical board, including senior professor doctors of PIC, Rawalpindi Institute of Cardiology and AFIC [Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology, Rawalpindi] was constituted.
On February 3, he said, the medical board checked Nawaz Sharif at the Central Jail Kot Lakhpat and advised for his shifting to a hospital because he had undergone an angioplasty in 2001 and 2017, and a coronary artery bypass graft (CABG-heart bypass surgery) in 2016.
But the Sharif family insisted on his treatment from London, he said, adding Nawaz’s health complication had been caused by the London doctors.
On the advice of the board, he said Nawaz Sharif was shifted to the Services Hospital as his primary issues were sugar and hypertension. He remained under treatment for six days, he added
He said Nawaz Sharif was advised to have an angiography procedure to diagnose heart problems but he refused.
Fawad said on February 14, Nawaz Sharif was shifted to the Jinnah Hospital where medical specialists of various diseases, including heart, were available, besides constituting a coordination team comprising professors of cardiology, urology and medicines.
A medical ward at the Jinnah Hospital was also evacuated from the patients, who were shifted to other wards, as Nawaz Sharif opted to stay there, he said.
He said on February 24, the court rejected the bail plea of Nawaz, who on February 25, desired for his re-shifting to the jail and the administration complied with his wish.
Fawad said on March 8, the Punjab Home Department through a letter, offered Nawaz Sharif to get medical treatment of his choice from any private or public doctor or hospital in Pakistan, besides calling any physician from abroad, but he refused to avail the offer.
The government, he said, was fully committed to providing the best possible medical treatment to Nawaz Sharif anywhere in the country as per his choice.
The minister recalled the past incident when Imran Khan fell off a staircase during the general elections campaign in 2013 and said it was only the Prime Minister Imran Khan who refused to go abroad for medical treatment and preferred to be treated at Shaukat Khan Memorial Hospital (SKMH), although an air ambulance had been arranged for shifting him abroad for medical treatment.
He said, similarly, Imran Khan’s late father also got all treatment from Pakistan instead of going abroad. He said this was the spirit what differentiated between Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and PML-N leadership.
Speaking about the state of hospitals in Punjab, the information minister said the healthcare was in shambles and Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid was trying to fix it.