Interior Ministry sends Nawaz’s medical reports to NAB
By Ajmal Khan Yousafzai
ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Monday said the federal government was the “competent authority” to decide the matter of removal of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s name from the Exit Control List (ECL), as the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) claimed that the delay in this regard was posing a threat to the life of its supreme leader.
Nawaz, 69, agreed on Friday to go to England for his treatment, heeding doctors’ advice and ‘accepting’ his family’s request. He was scheduled to leave for London on a Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight on Monday morning. However, his departure to London was conditioned with his name’s removal from the no-fly list.
Earlier in the day, PM’s Special Assistant on Information Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan said that the decision to remove Nawaz’s name from the no-fly list will be taken in light of recommendations of NAB and the medical board. In a response submitted to the Interior Ministry, NAB said that “the federal government is the competent authority to remove names from the ECL”.
“The government itself does not place any individual’s name on the ECL. Names are placed on the ECL on the recommendations given by NAB and the courts. Now that an application has been filed for the name to be removed, the same process is being followed,” Firdous told the media after her hearing in the Islamabad High Court in a contempt case.
“Hopefully, today we will receive NAB’s recommendations. […] NAB is the plaintiff in this case, he (Nawaz) is a suspect in [a case being probed by] NAB and was convicted by an accountability court.
“Secondly, the recommendations attached with the application filed are made by a medical board of Sharif Medical City. The government does not take decisions in light of directions from a private medical board, it was important to take the opinion of the government’s medical board.” She said that reports from NAB and the medical board were delayed due to the weekend and added that a review committee in the Law Ministry would “analyse” opinions of both bodies after which the matter would be forwarded to the cabinet.
Meanwhile, PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb expressed concern over the delay in removing Nawaz’s name from the ECL.
In a statement, Marriyum said that the medical board formed by the government had already recommended that Nawaz should be sent abroad for treatment as soon as possible. She said that the medical board had also recommended sending him abroad following a meeting last night. She said that once the former premier’s name is removed from the ECL other arrangements, such as arranging an air ambulance and sending the premier abroad, will start.
On Sunday, Marriyum said that a high dose of steroids had been administered to Nawaz in preparation for his expected departure on Monday. “Doctors have warned against giving him such high doses of steroids repeatedly,” she said, adding: “They cannot risk any further damage in trying to get his platelet levels to rise.” Marriyum said that the drop in the former premier’s platelet levels continues to worry doctors. “They are ambivalent about how to approach his treatment. They worry there might be a further deterioration in his health.”
The former minister said that if Nawaz’s health worsens any further, it will be “almost impossible to take him abroad”.
According to doctors “every single moment is precious” when it comes to getting Nawaz treated. “As time passes by, the threats to his health increase. It is imperative we send him abroad for treatment immediately,” they said.
Additionally, Nawaz’s personal physician Dr Adnan Khan said any delay in sending the former premier abroad could increase the risk to his health.
Meanwhile, addressing a press conference in Lahore, Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmeen Rashid said that an application had been submitted to the Ministry of Interior to permit Nawaz to go abroad for treatment.
Following this, the Interior Ministry had written to the Health Ministry asking them to get the opinion of the medical board. In response to this, the board said they had written a discharge summary and had provided all the details of the tests that needed to be carried out, adding that they [Interior Ministry] should act as they find suitable.
However, the Interior Ministry said they wanted a detailed report particularly regarding whether Nawaz should be sent abroad or not.
She said that the board met last night and based on their analysis, they feel that because the former premier’s condition isn’t stabilising and there may be tests that can’t be done in Pakistan, they recommend that he should be sent abroad. Dr Yasmeen said the Health Ministry had written to the medical board informing them that they had found some shortfalls in the report and could not send it to the Interior Ministry. They had told the board to provide details of “each test or intervention required with risk factor involved to be specifically mentioned”. The provincial health minister said that they asked the board about which tests can be conducted in Pakistan’s public sector hospitals and which ones cannot. Additionally, they asked which tests can be sent abroad and why Nawaz is a high-risk patient. In response to a question regarding whether there was pressure on the medical board, Rashid said: “Being a doctor myself […] when I read the report, I felt that it was insufficient.
“We have not put any sort of political pressure on anyone. I think the board is completely independent, you can ask any board member.” Nawaz was rushed from Kot Lakhpat jail to the hospital last month after his personal physician Dr Adnan Khan raised an alarm over his deteriorating health. Doctors have been struggling to bring his platelet count that had dropped to dangerous levels back to normal. PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif had last week submitted a request to the Interior Ministry as well as NAB for the removal of Nawaz’s name from the ECL so that the former prime minister could travel abroad for medical treatment. Nawaz has been diagnosed with an immune system disorder and his condition is said to be “extremely critical”.
Our Lahore Bureau add: The personal physician of the former premier, Dr Adnan, has said that the diagnosis of Nawaz Sharif’s disease and its treatment could become possible abroad. Dr Adnan, in his latest Twitter message, reiterated that Nawaz Sharif should travel abroad for the definitive diagnosis and treatment of his disease. He added the delay in his departure to the foreign country could become a risk to his life.
He said in his tweet, “Combined opinion of larger high profile medical board formed consisting of all members from SIMS [Services Institute of Medical Sciences] & SMC [Sharif Medical City] unanimously endorsed opinion that former PM #Nawaz Sharif should travel abroad to a centre of excellence for definitive diagnosis & treatment.”
Earlier in the day, Punjab Governor Chaudhry Sarwar claimed that the name of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif will be removed from the Exit Control List (ECL) today (Monday). Chaudhry Sarwar said everyone is worried over the deteriorating health condition of the former prime minister and the government will not take any risk over his health. He said the government has never politicised the health issue of the ousted prime minister. His name will be removed from the no-fly-list today, adding that he [Nawaz] will be free to go anywhere for his treatment. Tickets of ailing former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his brother Shehbaz Sharif and Dr Adnan were canceled on Monday, as his name remains on the Exit Control List (ECL).
Nawaz Sharif accompanied by his brother Shehbaz Sharif and family physician Dr Adnan were scheduled to leave for London, today for treatment, via Qatar Airways’s commercial flight QR-629 from Lahore. Sources confirmed that tickets were canceled by the Sharif family over non-removal of elder Sharif’s name from the ECL. It may be noted that last week, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had opposed the removal of prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s name from the Exit Control List (ECL).
Agencies add: Interior ministry on Monday forwarded medical reports of deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). According to the sources, the NAB officials after examining the medical reports of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo will send back the matter to the Interior ministry.
Earlier, Punjab Governor Chaudhry Sarwar had claimed that the name of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif will be removed from the Exit Control List (ECL) today. Chaudhry Sarwar said everyone is worried over the deteriorating health condition of the former prime minister and the government will not take any risk over his health. It may be noted that last week, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had opposed the removal of prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s name from the Exit Control List (ECL).
According to sources, the NAB in a response to a letter penned by the Interior Ministry had advised seeking a legal opinion from the Law Ministry over the matter of removing Nawaz Sharif’s name from the ECL. “Several cases are under trial against Nawaz Sharif, we cannot give positive response unconditionally over the matter”, the letter reads. The federal government has allowed former prime minister Nawaz Sharif to travel abroad for medical treatment after his health deteriorated.
Meanwhile, Federal Minister for Science and Technology, FawadChaudhry, revealed on Monday that the federal cabinet has not yet received a summary regarding the removal of the former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s name from the Exit Control List (ECL).
FawadChaudhry, while talking to media, said that any summary related to the Nawaz’s removal from ECL has not been included in the federal cabinet’s agenda so far which primarily needed for an approval to allow the former premier to travel abroad.
He, however, opposed the allowance of Nawaz Sharif to go to a foreign country. Chaudhry said that the decision to get someone’s name removed from the no-fly-list needed an approval from the cabinet. Chaudhry further revealed that many ministers are opposing the decision to remove Nawaz’s name from ECL and it is very difficult to get all ministers on the same page for the move.
He criticised the former premier by saying that he had apparently became so busy during his tenure which restricted him to construct even a single hospital to properly treat his ailment. It is pertinent to mention here that the statement came forth after Punjab Governor ChaudhrySarwar’s claim that the name of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif will be removed from the Exit Control List (ECL) today (Monday). Sarwar said everyone is worried over the deteriorating health condition of the former prime minister and the government will not take any risk over his health. He said the government has never politicised the health issue of the ousted prime minister. His name will be removed from the no-fly-list today, adding that he [Nawaz] will be free to go anywhere for his treatment.