A picture emerged on social media of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in London, wearing a light blue dress with a felt hat and having a cup of coffee at a café. There was backlash and strong reaction as social media warriors and trolls battled to criticize and defend the former premier.
Earlier this year, another picture emerged of Nawaz Sharif having lunch along with family at a restaurant in London. The picture went viral and many including several PTI leaders claimed that the PML-N supremo had left to seek medical treatment under false excuses.
Nawaz Sharif left the country on November 19, 2019 after his sentence was suspended. During his stay here while still in prison, there were all sorts of rumours surrounding his health. We were given the impression that he was in a precarious situation and was fighting between life and death.
When the Lahore High Court allowed the former premier to go abroad and seek medical assistance, the incumbent government showed immense displeasure and sought to stop him. It demanded to present Rs7 billion surety bond for his return, thereby creating even more obstacles in his departure. The court reduced the precondition to a mere stamp paper and Nawaz Sharif was finally free to go.
Then we saw Nawaz Sharif’s personal physician Dr Adnan provide all kinds of medical recommendations and treatments. We were worried about his health and could only offer our sincere prayers and well wishes. The Punjab government took full responsibility of his treatment as health minister Yasmin Rashid gave regular updates about his health. Prime Minister Imran Khan also offered the best possible medical treatment to his political adversary.
A luxurious air ambulance was brought and Nawaz Sharif left the country once again, creating an atmosphere of uncertainty whether the three-time premier would ever return. It has been over seven months and Nawaz Sharif has not undergone any major operation. He is getting better and healthier probably due to the different atmosphere in London. He can be often at cafes, restaurants or just strolling for a walk, away from the political chaos back home.
The 71-year-old has been thrice the prime minister of Pakistan and a former chief minister of Punjab. He was first dismissed from power by President Ishaq Khan and again overthrown in a military coup by General Musharraf. Yet people voted for him in the 2013 general elections but he could not complete a full time as prime minister.
During his long political career, Nawaz Sharif has been in and out of power several times. After Musharraf took over, Nawaz left for Saudi Arabia under a secret agreement. In 2018, he left his frail wife in London and returned back, going straight to prison and salvaging his career and party. Then he raised the ‘Give respect to the vote’ slogan and sought to reinvigorate Pakistan’s politics.
Nawaz Sharif’s medical condition was certainly exaggerated and he preferred to seek political exile than stay here and face the challenges. It must be remembered that Nawaz Sharif only does politics to gain power and there is some deal behind his silence or reconciliation. Only time will tell if he plotting a political comeback which is unlikely under the current scenario.