The scenes of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s departure to London for medical reasons have been seen as problematic by sections of the public, especially supporters of ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf. The fact that he was seen walking without assistance or any visible signs of illness has been used as an excuse by many to cast doubts on the seriousness of his ailment, and rumour mills have gone into overdrive regarding his “escape” from the country on false pretexts.

It is understandable that supporters of the ruling party and senior leaders alike see both Mr Sharif’s departure and the manner in which it was carried out as problematic, but the fact remains that all experts unanimously agree that the former Prime Minister was seriously ill. Doctors of Mr Sharif, state appointed medical staff and independent observers with any medical knowledge all unanimously agree that the former Prime Minister was gravely ill and needed to be taken abroad for treatment of his condition.

Given that the court, members of the cabinet – including the Prime Minister – and government doctors have all signed off on both the departure and on the legitimacy of his medical reports, the debates around the issue are meaningless. Not only that, but the senior leaders of PTI that are questioning the seriousness are in effect, questioning the sincerity of their own government. Do they really think that everyone across the board is lying and involved in some mass conspiracy to seek clemency for the convicted PML-N leader? Individuals such as Fawad Chaudhry and Fayyaz Chohan should keep their insults to themselves and defer to their leader on this matter; perhaps they do not realise the political damage their party would incur if something were to happen to a former Prime Minister under their government’s watch.

In any case, an individual’s appearance does in no way become an accurate gauge of health or otherwise, nor does the fact that he was seen walking instead of being carried away on a stretcher. Expecting theatrics or a dramatization of his condition simply to make it more believable is childish. We must realise that appearance does in no way determine the state of one’s health and the detractors would have found other reasons to question the veracity of the medical condition of Mr Sharif if he was seen carried to the air ambulance in hospital attire. We must do better as a society and avoid needless speculation especially if we do not possess the technical knowledge to make such disrespectful and inane assertions.