- A kick in the government’s pants
Former PM Nawaz Sharif suffers from a number of life-threatening illnesses. Last month, in a rare display of good grace for a political opponent, Prime Minister Imran Khan said his sincere prayers were with Mr Sharif for his health. The PM had also directed all concerned officials to ensure the provision of the best possible health care and medical treatment to Mr Sharif. Soon after the government appointed a special medical board for the PML-N leader’s treatment. The gesture by the Prime Minister did not go unnoticed.
The cause behind the continuous drop in the platelets was finally diagnosed as acute immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP), a bleeding disorder in which he immune system goes haywire and starts destroying the platelets. Nawaz Sharif’s health is in a critical condition and he is fighting a battle for survival. The medical board appointed by the government has recommended sending the patient abroad for some of his medical tests, including genetic tests, which are not available in Pakistan, to ascertain the real cause of drop in the platelets count time and again.
The IHC had suspended Nawaz’s sentence on medical grounds for eight weeks, of which ten days are already over. He is unfit to fly out of the country till his platelets get stabilized at 50,000 for which he might have to wait, one doesn’t know for how long. His treatment abroad may again take several more weeks As pointed out by the IHC, the government is authorized to suspend the sentence without sending the case to the court
Had the former PM been allowed to go abroad for treatment when it was still possible for him to fly out, his health would not have deteriorated so badly. To compensate for the negligence, the government should suspend the sentence for a longer period to enable Nawaz Sharif to go abroad as soon as his health allows. Besides humanitarian reasons, the act would help bring down the political temperature. Any perception of an element of revenge being behind the denial of treatment outside the country would heighten manifold the polarisation already prevailing in the country.