Nawaz Sharif's UK restaurant photo goes viral; Opposition raises questions over his illness
In the photo leaked on Monday, Sharif appeared to be stable and sitting in a London restaurant with his son Hasan, PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif, his son Salman and former Finance Minister Ishaq Dar.
A fresh picture of ailing former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at a London restaurant along with some family members has gone viral on social media, triggering a controversy and prompting the Opposition to cast aspersions over the "serious nature" of the PML-N supremo’s health.
Sharif, 69, left for London on November 19 in an air ambulance to seek medical treatment, a month after he was released on bail from a seven-year prison sentence for corruption.
The three-time Prime Minister is undergoing treatment of multiple diseases including coronary artery disease (CAD).
In the photo leaked on Monday, Sharif appeared to be stable and sitting (with his back towards the camera) in the restaurant with his son Hasan, PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif, his son Salman and former Finance Minister Ishaq Dar.
Federal Science Minister Fawad Chaudhry uploaded the leaked photo on his Twitter account and made a satirical comment.
لندن کے ھسپتال کے انتہائ نگہداشت یونٹ میں ہونیوالی ملاقات کے مناظر۔۔۔ کھاؤ پیو بیماری کا علاج انتہائ انہماک سے جاری ہے اور سارے مریض بہتر محسوس کر رہے ہیں۔ pic.twitter.com/pl6Z2hlXw6— Ch Fawad Hussain (@fawadchaudhry) January 13, 2020
"In London's intensive care unit, the treatment against plundering is underway and all patients present (there) are feeling better," he said.
The photo was also reportedly discussed at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan in Islamabad, according to Dawn newspaper.
The report said that the photo may cause problems for Sharif in securing extension in his stay abroad from the PTI-led Punjab government which has become sceptical about the "serious nature" of his health.
At the time of Sharif's departure for London, Khan had taken a dig at him, saying doctors were of the opinion that "this man could die any minute if he did not go abroad for treatment. But he suddenly recovered and looked perfectly fine as he got a glimpse of the London-bound air ambulance".
Sharif's PML-N slammed the ruling party leaders for doing “politics on their leader's health”, saying the government should come out of the "Sharif phobia" and concentrate on addressing important issues facing the country.
Sharif was shifted from jail to the Services hospital in Lahore in October after his health condition deteriorated. Doctors then recommended him to get treatment abroad.
The Pakistan government allowed Sharif''s travel for medical reasons but put the condition that he submit an indemnity bond as a guarantee that he would return to the country after getting treatment. He, however, rejected the condition and challenged it in courts.
Sharif was granted bail by the Islamabad High Court on humanitarian grounds in the Al Azizia case and by the Lahore High Court in the ongoing Chaudhry Sugar Mills case, in which he is a suspect.
In November, he was allowed by the Lahore High Court to travel abroad for treatment without any bond.
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s Punjab Health Minister Yasmin Rashid on Tuesday said that the relief granted to Sharif for medical treatment abroad had expired and he should submit an updated report regarding his health to the provincial authorities.
"Everyone has seen the viral photos of Nawaz Sharif on social media. We have asked Dr Adnan Khan (Nawaz's physician) to tell us whether the excursionings of the former Premier have anything to do with his health condition," Rashid said in apparent reference to said photos.