Pakistan’s ailing former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who was convicted of corruption, has left the country and is traveling to London for medical treatment. Sharif departed on a special plane on Tuesday from the city of Lahore, after a court granted him permission to leave for four weeks abroad for medical treatment.
His conviction was earlier suspended for eight weeks on medical grounds. The 69-year-old Sharif was sentenced to seven years in prison on corruption charges in 2019. After his health deteriorated last month, he was rushed from his cell to a hospital in Lahore. While in hospital, he suffered a minor heart attack.
In an ironic show of diplomacy, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday stated that he holds no grudge against Nawaz Sharif and the ailing former premiers health was more important than politics, according to international media. Incidentally, the Pakistan government is yet to remove Sharif of the 'Exit Control List' to ensure travel on medical grounds. The 69-year old former Pakistan Prime Minister's health has been deteriorating since October when he was diagnosed with acute immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP), an insusceptible issue that prompts a sudden and sharp drop in blood platelets.
Earlier on Thursday, Sharif's brother -Shehbaz and PML-N chief said, “If something happens to Sharif, Imran Khan and company will be responsible as he is critical and the government is using the opportunity for their dirty politics". Another PML -N leader added, "Nawaz Sharif said the government demand is illegal and can't be met in the presence of the court guarantees. Nawaz also showed his annoyance over the government's 'tactics' to politicise the issue of his health."
The former prime minister was lodged in the Kot Lakhpat jail but last month he was sent to the custody of the NAB which is probing the Sharif family in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills corruption case. On December 24, 2018, an accountability court had sentenced Sharif to seven years in prison in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills corruption case and acquitted him in the Flagship case. On October 29, the Islamabad High Court suspended Sharif's sentence in the Al-Azizia corruption case for eight weeks on medical grounds. The Sharif family has denied all corruption charges and termed them as politically motivated.
Three times prime minister, Sharif was removed from office by the judiciary in 2017 over corruption allegations. He denies the charge, saying he was politically victimized.
(With AP inputs)