ISLAMABAD - Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif was shifted to the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences on Saturday from Adiala jail after he developed some serious health complications.
A decision to shift him to the hospital was made in the light of his blood sample reports as Sharif was having severe pain in his chest and the left arm.
PIMS spokesman Dr Wasim Khwaja said that the former PM was admitted to the Cardiac Centre and his condition was stable.
Besides hospital security, extra police and paramilitary troops had been deployed in and around the hospital premises, he added.
Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Capt (r) Muhammad Safdar are serving their prison terms in Adiala Jail after being convicted in the Avenfield reference. They had been sentenced to 10, seven and one year imprisonment respectively by an accountability court.
Safdar was already in jail when Nawaz and Maryam returned to the country from London on July 13 to court arrests as well as revitalise their flagging party ahead of July 25 general elections.
Punjab Caretaker Home Minister Shaukat Javed on PTV said that doctors had advised Sharif’s transfer to the hospital after an electrocardiogram report showed “variations”. He, however, did not give any timeline of his stay in the hospital saying it would depend on doctors’ advice.
Doctor Naeem Malik and Dr Zulfiqar Ghori of PIMS hospital after his physical examination and seeing the test reports had suggested Sharif’s immediate shifting to the Coronary Care Unit (CCU), but initially he refused to oblige the advice, sources said.
Later, on Sharif’s request, his personal physician Dr Adnan was called to the jail who also examined him and on his advice the former premier agreed to be shifted to the PIMS (Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences).
Earlier, Maryam and Safdar – who are also in the same jail – met with Nawaz Sharif in his prison cell and stayed with him for quite some time. Sources said that it was on their persuasion and that of Dr Adnan that Nawaz Sharif agreed to be shifted to PIMS.
The Punjab home department had already completed the necessary work for turning the hospital premises, where Sharif had to be shifted, to a sub-jail and in coordination with the federal interior ministry, made arrangements for providing adequate security to him.
After completion of all arrangements, Sharif was shifted to PIMS hospital in a heavily guarded security convoy.
Officials at the hospital said that initially the former PM would be kept in the CCU and as soon as his health condition improves, he would be moved to officers’ ward which would be declared a sub-jail.
On the other hand, security arrangements at PIMS hospital were beefed up and the movement of visitors and general patients was also restricted, especially the entry of people in wards near the CCU had completed been blocked.
The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf media wing also issued a press release expressing good wishes by party chief Imran Khan for Sharif and his early recovery.
After hearing the news of Sharif’s shifting to PIMS, a handful of PML-N local leaders and activists gathered outside the hospital to have a glimpse of their leader. Some of them were even carrying flower bouquets to present to their Quaid.
On the other hand, some PTI activists, who happened to be around, jeered at PML-N activists who had turned up to show solidarity with their leader.
Both sides chanted slogans against each other and in support of their leaders but the security officials’ timely intervention prevented the situation from getting nasty and dispersed them.
Last week, the former premier suffered from dehydration and his blood urea content shoot up 50 percent. A medical team also had recommended that he be shifted to the hospital as his heartbeat was not normal and the presence of urea in the blood may affect his kidneys.
However, Sharif spurned the advice and insisted on getting treatment in the prison.
Nation Monitoring adds: According to BBC Urdu, Nawaz Sharif is being kept at the presidential suite at PIMS. Though he’s not eligible for any public post anymore after his conviction, the former PM is being given VIP protocol, it said.
Quoting hospital sources, it said that earlier the administration had planned to keep Nawaz at a room which had been specially built for the former prime minister Benazir Bhutto for child delivering, but then the placing of his lodging was changed due to security reasons.
They further told that Benazir could not use that room for the purpose it was built but later her husband and former President Asif Ali Zardari stayed there a number of times during his imprisonment.
The hospital sources said that Nawaz has been given a room in the private ward of Cardiology Unit which is designated for the President of Pakistan.
This presidential suite is quite bigger than the ordinary hospital rooms and it has some annexed rooms for the stay of security personnel.
High security is being maintained at the part of hospital where Nawaz is staying. Besides policemen, security agencies personnel are also deputed there.
Bomb disposal squad and security personnel had a detailed search of the site before the ex-PM was brought in. No one can enter the presidential suite and only those having been issued special visiting cards can enter the area.