Jailed former Pakistani PM Sharif transferred to hospital

By Mubasher Bukhari

LAHORE, July 29 : Jailed former Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif was taken to hospital in Islamabad on Sunday with a possible heart problem, said a government official and Sharif’s party.

Sharif and his daughter Maryam were arrested on July 13, minutes after they returned from Britain seeking to revitalise their flagging PML-N party ahead of a July 25 election.

An anti-corruption court sentenced him on July 6 to 10 years while his daughter and political heir was sentenced to seven years over the purchase of luxury flats in London in the 1990s.

They were moved to Adiala jail in the garrison town of Rawalpindi.

“After initially refusing to be shifted to Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences … Sharif agrees to be treated outside prison after consulting with his personal doctor,” said a PML-N tweet on Sunday night.

“Doctors at Adiala jail have observed changes in the ECG (electrocardiogram) of Nawaz Sharif,” Punjab Chief Minister Hasan Askari Rizvi told Reuters. An ECG checks the heart’s electrical activity.

“We cannot take any risk about Sharif’s health,” Rizvi said.

During the election campaign, Sharif said the military had influenced the judiciary to deny him a second term, but the military denied this. Pakistan was founded in 1947 and since then the military has ruled for about half of its history.

At the election, Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), or Pakistan Movement for Justice, emerged as the largest single party.PTI did better than expected to scoop up 16.86 million votes, trouncing 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.

/Reuters

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