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September 6, 2020

Nawaz Sharif likely to skip 9th September return deadline


Sun, Sep 06, 2020

LONDON: Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is unlikely to return to Pakistan to meet the 9th September deadline set by the Islamabad High Court for “surrender” before the court in person.

Last week, the IHC granted former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif the opportunity "to surrender" and present himself before the court by September 10. 

A two-member bench of the IHC comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani heard appeals filed by NAB against the former prime minister's acquittal in the Flagship reference as well as appeals against his conviction in the Al-Azizia reference.

The News has learnt from sources here that Nawaz Sharif has decided to return to Pakistan after his treatment once the normal operational services of National Health Service (NHS) as well as the private hospitals resume. Sources said that Nawaz Sharif has been advised by his family, friends and PMLN to not come to Pakistan until he gets all clear from his doctors, following the operation.

A Sharif family source here said that Nawaz Sharif’s illness is a fact confirmed by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) government. “The central government, the Punjab government and the board appointed by the government looked into health issues of Nawaz Sharif and confirmed that he has serious issues which need treatment abroad. Those issues remain. Nawaz Sharif was going to undergo heart operation in London but all services of the NHS were suspended and currently no appointments are available. Nawaz Sharif is eager to return to Pakistan but he will do so when his treatment is done.”

When asked what will happen to the 9th September deadline set by the court, the source said that detailed presentation with documents will be placed before the court and other institutions.

The NHS hospitals in England were told in March to suspend all non-urgent elective surgery for at least three months from 15 April to help the service deal with the covid-19 pandemic. Non-urgent surgeries remain suspended at the most NHS facilities. It is the situation also with the private hospitals.

Nawaz Sharif was to be operated at one of the Harley Street clinics prior to the Covid-19 lockdown.

Doctor Irfan Malik, a senior surgeon at a Harley Street clinic, said that elective operations have started again, from the middle of September but there are huge backlogs. “Both the NHS and private hospitals throughout the suspension period provided emergency covers but all non-urgent operations were put on hold including operative procedures. There is currently a huge backlog which will take several months, even years.”

Dr Sher Bahadur Anjum, Paediatric Consultant Barts Health NHS Trust, said that NHS hospitals are prioritising emergency operations at the moment. He said that elective category of operations will likely resume in not less than six months because currently the NHS is fearing another peak and arrangements have been made to deal with such a scenario.

Doctor Anjum said: “Nawaz Sharif’s procedure falls in the super elective category. Lots of doctors are involved in this kind of surgery and lost of precautionary measures involved too. I don’t think his operation will be happening anytime soon due to the practical difficulties.”

This week hospitals in England and Wales received emails from the government reinstating free parking all over the country for the NHS workers. The step has been taken to deal with the scenario if there is a new peak of Corona virus cases.

On Saturday, PML-N Secretary General Ahsan Iqbal said that there would be no compromise on health of Nawaz Sharif, pointing out that he would return to Pakistan soon after his treatment.

Ahsan Iqbal advised the PML-N supremo not to return to Pakistan unless complete recovery from the illness he was going through.

“Nawaz Sharif should return soon as he feels himself fit and fine,” said Ahsan Iqbal while addressing a press conference in Islamabad.

“Nawaz Sharif returned to Pakistan by leaving his wife seriously ill back in the UK,” he said, adding that he always loved Pakistan and never hesitated from sacrificing for the homeland.

“Neither we shall do politics on health of Nawaz Sharif and nor any compromise,” said Ahsan Iqbal. He stated that the Federal government was making his health an issue.