By Mubasher Bukhari
LAHORE, July 29 : Doctors are concerned about the health of jailed former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and have requested prison authorities in Rawalpindi to transfer him to a hospital, a government official said on Sunday.
Sharif and his daughter Maryam were arrested on July 13, minutes after they returned to Pakistan seeking to revitalise their flagging party ahead of a July 25 national election. They were moved to Adiala jail in the garrison town of Rawalpindi and face lengthy sentences.
“Doctors at Adiala jail have observed changes in the ECG of Nawaz Sharif,” Punjab Chief Minister Hasan Askari Rizvi told Reuters. An ECG, or electrocardiogram, is a test that checks the heart’s electrical activity.
“We cannot take any risk about Sharif’s health and have directed the jail authorities to shift him to either Rawalpindi Institute of Cardiology or PIMS (Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences) immediately.” Sharif, who returned from Britain, was handed a 10-year jail term on July 6 by an anti-corruption court in Pakistan, while his daughter and political heir was sentenced to seven years in prison over the purchase of luxury flats in London in the 1990s.
In the run-up to the July 25 general election, Sharif alleged the Pakistan military of influencing the judiciary to deny it a second term.
The military, which has ruled Pakistan for about half of the country’s history since its founding in 1947, has denied interfering in modern-day politics.
Last week’s election saw Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), or Pakistan Movement for Justice, emerge as the largest single party.PTI did better than expected to scoop up 16.86 million votes, trouncing the Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), which finished second with 12.89 million.
PTI opened coalition talks with at least one smaller party and independent politicians on Saturday.
European Union observers were critical of the political climate in the run-up to the vote, saying that some parties had been disadvantaged. The United States voiced similar concerns.