December 2019
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Ailing former Pak PM Nawaz Sharif leaves for London for treatment
Lahore: Pakistan''s ailing former prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday left for London in an air ambulance to seek better medical treatment for multiple diseases, days after a court here allowed him to travel abroad for four weeks after he legally challenged the Imran Khan government''s condition of furnishing an indemnity bond worth Rs 700 crore. The 69-year-old Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo left for London via Qatar after arriving at Lahore airport, where the air ambulance - equipped with an intensive care unit and an operation theatre - arrived from Doha.

The three-time prime minister has been diagnosed with an immune system disorder and doctors recommended that he should go abroad for treatment as his condition continued to deteriorate despite best possible care in Pakistan. Sharif is accompanied by his younger brother and PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif, his personal physician Adnan Khan and other paramedical personnel. Pakistani television stations showed footage of Sharif being helped to board the plane. PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Auranzeb told PTI that Sharif would be taken to Harely Street Clinic upon arrival in London tonight for his treatment and, if required, he may be shifted to the US (Boston) for further treatment.

She said that doctors examined Sharif before Sharif left his Jati Umra residence in Lahore and gave him a heavy dose of steroids and medicines to ensure that his condition remains stable during the long journey. Sharif''s physician Khan said in a tweet late on Wednesday that an intensive care unit and an operation theatre had been set up in the air ambulance and a team of doctors and paramedics will also be on board. Sharif is suffering from multiple health complications, including erratic platelet count, and was treated at his residence near Lahore.

Soon after Sharif left Lahore, Prime Minister Khan aide Firdous Ashiq Awan wished the former premier a "speedy recovery so that he can return and face (the courts)". In a tweet, she said: "(We are) praying that God grants a complete recovery to Nawaz Sharif. We are praying for his health and (for his) speedy recovery so that he can return and face the law. "With his conduct, Prime Minister Imran Khan has set a golden example of respect for humanity and supremacy of law," she claimed. Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry also reacted to Sharif going abroad and said that the "journey from ''why was I expelled'' to ''expel me for God''s sake'' is now approaching its end".

"When such leadership demands respect for vote, it actually insults the democratic process," he said in a tweet. "I sympathise with those workers of the PML-N who consider Nawaz Sharif their leader and tire themselves day and night." On Saturday, the Lahore High Court allowed Sharif to travel abroad for four weeks for medical treatment. The four-week duration can be extended further on his doctors'' recommendations. The court also ordered the Imran Khan government to remove Sharif''s name from the no-fly list or the Exit Control List (ECL). On Wednesday, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government granted a one-time permission to Sharif for four weeks to travel abroad for his treatment provided he submitted indemnity bonds worth Rs 700 crore.

On Thursday, Sharif challenged this condition in the court terming it ''illegal'' and a "trap" of prime minister Khan to use them (bonds) for his political gains. He recently secured eight weeks bail on medical grounds from the Islamabad High Court in the Al-Azizia Mills corruption case in which he was serving seven years imprisonment. He also got bail from the Lahore High Court in the money laundering case. He agreed to go to the UK for treatment, heeding doctors'' advice and accepting his family''s request. He was scheduled to leave for London on November 10. However, he could not leave as his name figured in the no fly-list.

The former prime minister was lodged in the Kot Lakhpat jail but last month he was sent to the custody of the National Accountability Bureau which is probing the Sharif family in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills corruption case. In December last year, 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. The Sharif family has denied all corruption charges and termed them as politically motivated.

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