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All set for Nawaz Sharif’s London travel: Maryam Nawaz says Mian Sahib’s health most important, politics to go on for entire life

LAHORE: The government, after marathon deliberations at the highest level, has decided to remove the name of seriously-ill former prime minister and Quaid of Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) Nawaz Sharif from the exit control list (ECL) to facilitate him for travelling abroad for medical treatment.

The ministry concerned has sought the consent of National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for the purpose. The Nawaz family had moved the interior ministry for removing his name from the ECL.

It is most likely that Nawaz Sharif will leave for London on Sunday for advanced treatment of his multiple medical complications, especially the platelets fluctuation issue. His brotherand party president Shahbaz Sharif would accompany him, according to family and party sources. However, his daughter Maryam Nawaz will not be able to company him at the moment, added the sources.

Nawaz Sharif, who was diagnosed with a bleeding disorder – idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura – late last month, had been shifted to his home in Raiwind on the edge of Lahore earlier this week. The symptoms include easy or excessive bruising, superficial bleeding into the skin that appears as pinpoint-sized reddish-purple spots (petechiae) that look like a rash – usually on the lower legs, bleeding from the gums or nose. During his hospital stay, the former prime minister underwent a five-day Intravenous Immunoglobulin (IVIg) – which, according to Harvard Medical School, is primarily used to treat other autoimmune and inflammatory conditions. The former prime minister also suffered an angina attack during his hospitalisation and also suffers from diabetes.

PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz Friday said her father Nawaz Sharif was critically ill and he should go abroad for treatment, or should avail medical care wherever it is available in the world, on urgent basis.

Talking to the media after her appearance before an accountability court in Chaudhry Sugar Mills money-laundering case, she said Shahbaz Sharif was managing the matter of taking Nawaz Sharif abroad for medical treatment.

“I cannot go abroad with my father as my name is on the ECL and my passport is with the court,” Maryam added. She said she wished she could accompany her father for his treatment abroad, and it would be very difficult for her not to accompany him. However, she added, Mian Sahib (Nawaz Sharif) should certainly go abroad if his heath demands so. “After departure of my mother Begum Kalsoom Nawaz, I have been left with only my father, Mian Nawaz Sharif, and I can’t compromise on his health,” Maryam added.

When asked whether she would join sit-in of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), Maryam said politics would go on all her life “but one can’t get one’s parents back once they are gone. At the moment, Mian Sahib’s health is most important for me and I cannot leave him alone for a moment due to his critical health condition,” she added.

Maryam said the platelet count of Nawaz Sharif had again dropped and it’s fluctuating on daily basis. She said all available options in Pakistan had been utilised to diagnose the cause of fluctuation in the platelet count, but doctors had not been able to reach any final conclusion. She said different medicines had been used to treat Mian Nawaz Sharif including steroids, platelet enhancers and others, but none of them had worked so far. She said medical board of Services Hospital and private medical board of Nawaz Sharif had conveyed them that all treatment options in Pakistan had been exhausted, and recommended that he (Nawaz Sharif) should approach a specialised healthcare centre, where a diagnosis could be made regarding sudden drop in platelets count again and again.

About allegations of a deal, Maryam said people who were saying such things should be ashamed of themselves.

According to sources, the family was busy on Friday for making arrangements for their travel in next two days, and his doctors have contacted his former physicians and surgeons in London and also obtained formal appointment at a clinic at Harley Street for Monday. The family said Nawaz Sharif had finally conceded to the doctors’ advice and agreed to go to London for treatment, following which the family requested the government to let him fly by removing his and Shahbaz’s names from the ECL. Sources said the government had given permission formally for the Sharif Brothers travel abroad and the matter of removing their names from the ECL had been handed over to National Accountability Bureau (NAB) authorities.

Earlier, according to sources, Nawaz Sharif had been refusing the family and doctors’ demand to go abroad for treatment and insisting on his treatment in the country.

Yet, there is still a big obstacle in his travel abroad as his platelets count was not up to the minimum safe level, required for a person to have an air travel, sources said. His platelets count recovered from a precariously low level of 2,000 at the Services Hospital, and had been fluctuating between 20,000 to around 45,000. On Friday, the count was recorded at 22,000. However, it should be at least 50,000 to be fit enough to fly. In messages on Twitter, his personal physician, Dr Adnan Khan, said Nawaz Sharif's condition was still "critical". He needs to be shifted to London’s clinic for advanced treatment, the doctor said adding that consultations with the UK doctors were under way for quite some time and they had been advising immediate shifting to London. He said the causes of his ailments were still unknown and had complicated his condition despite the best medical efforts.

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) had last week granted bail to Nawaz for eight weeks, suspending his seven-year sentence in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills corruption reference on medical grounds.

Earlier, Lahore High Court had also allowed him bail on medical grounds in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills case. Special Assistant to the Prime Minister Naeemul Haque has said Prime Minister Imran had seen Nawaz’s medical reports, which showed that the former prime minister was “very ill”. He said that it is the right of every Pakistani to get treatment and the government has no reservations over Nawaz seeking treatment abroad. He said it’s up to the courts to decide that how much time would be given to Nawaz Sharif to seek medical treatment. “The court will decide as to how many times Nawaz can go abroad,” he said. “It is also up to the court to decide on how long Nawaz can stay abroad for medical treatment.”

The officials concerned are waiting for the court directive regarding the removal of Nawaz Sharif name from the ECL and it is likely the approval will be available on Saturday (today) that will help Nawaz Sharif fly abroad on Sunday. The sources said that Shahbaz Sharif had approached the interior ministry for removal of Nawaz name from the ECL earlier in the day.

Nawaz Sharif, who was discharged from the Services Hospital Lahore two days ago, was taken to his residence, Jati Umra on Wednesday, 16 days after he was hospitalised in critical condition. A special intensive care unit (ICU) was established at his Jati Umra residence before his returning home three days ago. Nawaz’s name was placed on the no-fly list on the request of NAB.

Dr Adnan Khan, personal physician of Nawaz Sharif, said in a social media message on Friday that former premier is “critically unwell. The unexplained cause and uncertain diagnosis complicates the overall clinical scenario requiring advanced investigations and specialized care,” he added.

Dr Adnan said former premier's condition was "critical" while two British doctors, according to family sources, advised the Sharif family to bring Nawaz to London for specialized treatment immediately. Dr Khan also endorsed the view that the PML-N supremo needs to be shifted abroad for treatment.

Nawaz and Shahbaz are likely to take Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) Sunday flight to London. The Sharif family is consulting doctors in the United Kingdom and the United States to find the best treatment.