Shahbaz spends time with family, meets Nawaz

LAHORE: Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif, who was released on bail in two corruption cases late on Friday night, spent Saturday with his family including elder brother former prime minister Nawaz Sharif at Jinnah Hospital.

Shahbaz Sharif, who is also president of the Pakistan Muslim league-Nawaz (PML-N), got bail in the Ashiyana housing and Ramzan Sugar Mills cases from the Lahore High Court on Thursday.

After being released from the sub-jail in Islamabad, Mr Sharif arrived at Lahore airport late on Friday night where a good number of PML-N workers greeted him.

Zardari congratulates PML-N chief over his release

On Saturday, Shahbaz Sharif met Nawaz Sharif at Jinnah Hospital where the latter was shifted from Kot Lakhpat Jail on Friday in connection with his heart complications.

On the PML-N president’s arrival at the hospital, his party workers chanted slogans in favour of the Sharif brothers, but he stopped them saying “this is a hospital and sloganeering is not appropriate here”. He said Nawaz Sharif should get better treatment. “Nawaz Sharif has reservations about his treatment, I will ask him,” he said.

The Shahbaz-Nawaz meeting lasted more than an hour. After the meeting the former chose not to answer the media’s queries.

Later in the day, Shahbaz Sharif went to the Jati Umra residence of Nawaz Sharif and met his mother. “My mother’s prayers and love are the real source of my strength,” he said.

Maryam Nawaz also met her father in the hospital. Talking to reporters after the meeting, she said: “The oppressive time is about to end.” She demanded shifting of her father to a specialised cardiac facility.

Nawaz Sharif’s personal cardiologist Dr Adnan Khan said: “Nawaz Sharif has significant coronary artery disease (heart disease) with multiple co-morbidities as confirmed by various special medical boards formed by the government. He requires extensive specialised evaluation and care, aggressive treatment and intensive management.”

Nawaz Sharif, who is serving seven-year imprisonment in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills corruption case, was shifted to hospital on Friday for cardiac treatment. This is his third shifting to hospital since his detention at Kot Lakhpat Jail.

The PML-N has objected to the shifting of Nawaz Sharif to Jinnah Hospital which, it claimed, “lacks facilities to treat heart patients”. Jinnah Hospital has been declared a ‘sub-jail’ for Mr Sharif by the Punjab home department during his stay.

The Punjab government has formed a five-member (fifth) special medical board, headed by Prof Dr Arif Tajamal of Allama Iqbal Medical College/Jinnah Hospital, to examine and conduct the former premier’s medical tests and submit its recommendations to the Punjab government.

Meanwhile, former president Asif Ali Zardari has congratulated Shahbaz Sharif on his release. Felicitating office-bearers and workers of PML-N, he said that release of Shahbaz Sharif was a “good omen” for democracy.

He said there was not a single political prisoner during previous PPP government because it did not believe in political victimisation.

“I will continue to voice for empowering parliament. Opposition is an essential part in democracy and putting someone behind the bar just because of his affiliation with opposition is not appropriate in politics,” Mr Zardari said and added politics of leveling allegations was always harmful for democracy and politics.

Published in Dawn, February 17th, 2019
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