Pakistan's ailing former prime minister Nawaz Sharif arrived in London on Tuesday in an air ambulance to seek better medical treatment for multiple diseases. His air ambulance flight from Lahore landed in the UK on Tuesday evening after a stopover in Doha, Qatar. The air ambulance was equipped with an intensive care unit and an operation theatre.
Publications, personalities and Twitter users in Pakistan, however, criticised the veracity of the former prime minister's health concerns. "Nawaz Sharif should refrain from taking qeema wala naan and khatai," Punjab minister Fayyazul Hasan Chohan told The Dawn.
Meanwhile, Pakistan's Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry taunted the former prime minister and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief, saying, "The way Nawaz climbed the stairs of the air ambulance it seemed he got well after the decision of the court (in his favour); Sharif should have been treated like any other criminal."
Attorney General Anwar Mansoor Khan has said that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his family have been given "too much relief by the system” even though ordinary people and those from the privileged classes should be treated equally. Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information Firdous Ashiq Awan added, "The government has always looked upon this matter as a humanitarian issue, but it’s unfortunate that the PML-N has been exploiting the situation not only to defame the government but also to deceive the masses."
Twitter users shared an image from inside the Qatar Airways air ambulance that flew Sharif to London, making a two-hour stop in Doha on the way.
Former PM Nawaz Sharif seems to have experienced a miraculous recovery from ill health inside the Qatar Airways air ambulance pic.twitter.com/k6HIhUku3v
— omar r quraishi (@omar_quraishi) November 19, 2019
Life-saving drugs, sorry I mean, a few bunches of grape are placed right in front of the critically-ill #NawazSharif so that the dose could be immediately administered in case of any emergency. pic.twitter.com/A8USkNQbKH
— Ali Salman Alvi (@alisalmanalvi) November 19, 2019
This in many ways a historic journey. In this lavish Air Ambulance Nawaz Sharif is accompanied with Shahbaz Sharif. Pakistani politics going to witness implications of this historic flight in months and years to come. pic.twitter.com/SOX20ssnvO
— Kamran Khan (@AajKamranKhan) November 19, 2019
The three-time prime minister has been diagnosed with an immune system disorder and doctors in Pakistan recommended that he should go abroad for treatment as his condition continued to deteriorate despite best possible care in the country. Sharif was sentenced to seven years in prison on corruption charges in December last year. Since he was granted bail last month on medical grounds, his party and family members have been working on getting him removed him from a travel ban list to allow him to seek treatment overseas.
PML-N aides were present to receive the 69-year-old party chief, who was accompanied by his brother Shehbaz Sharif and personal physician as he was taken to his London residence in the posh Park Lane area of the British capital. "He will rest overnight at his residence and tomorrow [Wednesday] he will consult with Harley Street specialists,” a PML-N UK spokesperson said.
"He has been under a lot of stress and strain, but we hope his platelet levels should go up. We will wait and see what the consultants say and then decide if he would need to be taken to a hospital in Boston in the US,” the spokesperson said.
Sharif will be treated at his son Hasan's flat in the UK and a room has been reserved for it, PTI quoted GEO News as saying. The room has been equipped with the necessary equipment as advised by doctors, Geo News quoted another source as saying.
A video of Sharif's arrival also received sharp criticism from a Twitter user who said that Sharif might have misled the Lahore High Court.
— Mohammed Shafiq (@mshafiquk) November 20, 2019
A source at the Harley Street Clinic said that two doctors have been engaged and they will review the situation and then a further decision will be taken. From the UK, he is expected to be flown to Boston where a medical appointment is already in place with a hospital.
Sharif has categorically denied all charges of corruption against him and was granted bail by the Islamabad High Court and Lahore High Court on humanitarian grounds earlier this month.
With inputs from PTI
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Updated Date: Nov 20, 2019 17:32:12 IST