- The PTI should be most worried about Nawaz’s and Zardari’s health
Instead of dismissing the illness of ousted Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif as a drama, the PTI government should be taking it seriously, for its own sake, even if not for that of Mian Nawaz himself. Those deriding the drastic fall in his platelets count should pay more attention to its own Punjab Health Minister, herself a doctor, who has said that the decline in his platelets count was dangerous. The PTI did not mock PPP chief Asif Zardari’s being rushed to PIMS Hospital for tests, but it should also pay attention to his health.
It should be noted that both are elderly men, Mian Nawaz having turned 70 last year, and Mr Zardari 66, with family and personal histories of heart disease. It should also be noted that ever since they were imprisoned, their families had been worried about their health. These fears, it now seems, are coming true. The PTI should do a coldblooded calculation of what would happen if either of these two were to pass on while in custody. While Mian Nawaz has been convicted, at the moment he is being interrogated and is in NAB custody for that purpose. Mr Zardari is merely a suspect. Apart from the question of common justice, the PTI, being in office, should also look at the consequences for law and order of any untoward event. Irrespective of whether either is corrupt, both received large numbers of votes in the last elections, and their passing while in office might provoke some of their followers to clash with the administration. What effects that might have on market sentiment is also something the PTI would do well to calculate, especially at a time when it is trying to act as a booster for the economy.
The PTI has to eschew the petty vengefulness that seems to characterise its thinking at present, and take seriously the ailments from which opposing party leaders suffer. Apart from anything else, the ungracious levity shown has been as far outside our tradition of dealing with illness as is the mistreatment of prisoners. Tormenting the unwell is reprehensible enough, but chortling over how maltreatment has caused illness is unseemly. The PTI leadership should act, not just to ensure proper treatment of the unwell, but to prevent over-enthusiasm in its own ranks.