Lahore: Nawaz Sharif will return to Pakistan “only after getting well’, his party announced on Friday, indicating that the former prime minister may not meet the judicial deadline of September 10 to appear for a hearing in a corruption case against him.
The Islamabad High Court (IHC) early this week had directed the three-time prime minister and the supremo of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), currently in London, to appear before it and surrender to the authorities by September 10 or face legal proceedings for absconsion.
A division bench of the high court — comprising Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani and Justice Aamer Farooq — had also directed the Deputy Attorney General to verify the medical condition of 70-year-old Sharif through the Pakistani High Commission in London.
The bench had issued the directives while hearing appeals filed by Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Captain (retd) Mohammad Safdar against conviction in the Avenfield and Al-Azizia Steel Mills cases.
“It is not possible that Nawaz Sharif returns to Pakistan by September 10 and faces cases against him, before getting well. His heart- related surgery is scheduled in London in a couple of weeks and he has to undergo the treatment, a senior PML-N leader told PTI on Friday.
“Today we also had a conference call of the main party leadership that was unanimous on one point that ‘Mian Sahib’ should not return to the country till he gets well,” the leader said, adding that on the next hearing of the case in IHC on September 10 the court will be apprised of Sharif’s ‘serious condition’ with his fresh reports from London doctors and his treatment schedule.
He said Sharif was keen to return but his family and party leaders were against it.
The PML-N leader further said it will be difficult for Prime Minister Imran Khan to face Sharif in Pakistan.
“The PTI (Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf) government is only doing politics on the health of Nawaz Sharif, otherwise it is not interested in bringing him back because of his ‘massive political clout’ in the country,” he said.
Sharif’s younger brother and Leader of the Opposition Shahbaz Sharif has also made it clear that Nawaz cannot return till he is medically fit.
“Nawaz Sharif will return to the country if doctors in London allow him. Nawaz Sharif’s health is serious and once he gets well he will appear before courts,” Shahbaz said, who now holds the position of PML-N president.
Shahbaz asked Imran Khan and the PTI leaders to stop doing politics on someone’s health. “His condition is serious and his treatment is scheduled in London shortly,” he added.
The last time the Sharif family had submitted Nawaz’s medical report to the Lahore High Court was over a month ago.
Signed by Dr David Lawrence, a London-based consultant cardiothoracic surgeon, the report said medical investigations and opinions are indicative of significantly reduced blood supply to Nawaz’s heart and its impaired functionality.
“Nawaz must undergo coronary catheterisation as a significant part of his heart is at risk. A multidisciplinary approach was warranted for his safety while undergoing an invasive procedure due to underlying ITP (unstable platelet count) and co-morbidities (hypertension, diabetes and kidney disease) which carry a significant risk of bleeding and possibility of a procedural or peri-procedural adverse cardiac event,” the report said.
The report said Nawaz will be scheduled for an invasive cardiac procedure once the hospital starts planning elective procedures amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Further, at the time of the procedure Nawaz must be in stable condition as he is in the high-risk category.
Sharif has been in London since November last year after the Lahore High Court granted him permission to go abroad for four weeks for treating the heart disease and an immune system disorder. The three-time premier was sentenced to seven years in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills case.