Ever since former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif left for safer pastures in London on the pretext of seeking medical treatment, there have been doubts raised over his health. Now the recent statement by his brother Shehbaz has reinforced rumors that his health condition may have been exaggerated.
Shehbaz Sharif has said that Nawaz was supposed to undergo a coronary operation last week which has been delayed twice due to the absence of Maryam Nawaz. This has raised even more questions whether Nawaz is more worried about his health or the presence of his daughter. Nawaz’s insistence that Maryam should be present by his bedside while he undergoes an operation shows his stubbornness.
This has given credence to those who claim that Nawaz’s health reports were fabricated and made on a letterhead of the Sharif Medical City paving the way for his departure abroad. The recent admission by Shehbaz Sharif suggests that the entire family might be seeking political exile. It is also unclear when Shehbaz himself will return as he faces a barrage of corruption cases.
The PML-N leaders want to see Maryam in London but this remains wishful thinking and state institutions cannot act on the whims of a political leader. Maryam Nawaz remains on the ECL list and her departure would be a great injustice to other prisoners languishing in jails while marring the accountability narrative.
Amid the growing economic uncertainty in the country, the PML-N is considering starting a campaign against the government next month. With the Sharif brothers abroad and Maryam unlikely to take on a leadership role, the party will be unable to devise an effective strategy against the government. The Sharif brothers have been plotting to campaign against the government during their stay in London despite being ill-so to say.
Nawaz Sharif has not provided his complete medical reports and the Punjab government is displeased and mulling their next course of action. His personal physician has been giving regular statements that Nawaz remains seriously unwell and requires cardiac procedures. Despite being present in London for over two months, Nawaz has not undergone any major treatments and has been seen frequenting restaurants.
The PML-N would certainly be considering ways to regain power but this strategy cannot be hatched in London. Whether Maryam’s presence is necessary while Nawaz has considerable influence over the party remains unknown. The party certainly wants Maryam in London to get a level playing field and challenge the government.