Nawaz on the mend,
needs no more care;
says medical board

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LAHORE: The Punjab government’s Special Medical Board (SMB) is of the opinion that former prime minister and PML-N supreme leader Nawaz Sharif currently needs no intervention as his vital heart arteries are functioning well.

“The board is of the opinion that Mr Sharif’s two vital arteries — coronary and left anterior descending (LAD) — are functioning well, while his third circumflex artery is blocked but not life-threatening,” a source privy to the developments in the Punjab government told Dawn.

“The specialists on the medical board have seen the fresh medical reports and are of the opinion that there is nothing new in the reports as they are the same already available. Mr Sharif is doing well for the past two years on medicines and will not be going for any interventional procedure anytime soon,” the source said.

Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif

Sources, however, claim that Mr Sharif’s return and consequently landing in jail may cause him heart complications in the solitary confinement.

Nawaz Sharif has been in the United Kingdom since November 2019, when he was undergoing medical tests and reportedly advised to undergo a fresh cardiac procedure that was not without its risks.

Govt specialists say PML-N leader’s latest reports contain ‘nothing new’

Sources in the Punjab government said the SMB comprising nine senior most doctors of respective specialties had assessed the ‘medical reports’ submitted by Mr Sharif’s physician in the UK Dr David Lawrence and concluded that it could not give a structured opinion on the PML-N leader’s condition or ability to travel without details of his current clinical evaluation, blood reports, imaging results and procedures.

Later, the PTI government at the centre built pressure on the Sharif family through the legal forum and received fresh medical reports by Mr Sharif’s interventional cardiologist Dr Fayaz Shawl.

At the request of the attorney general of Pakistan to constitute a new medical board to examine the fresh reports, the Punjab government had retained the SMB convened by professor of medicine Dr Muhammad Arif Naeem since it included senior most professors of all relevant specialties and more importantly it had already assessed the PML-N leader’s medical reports sent by his physician Dr David Lawrence.

The SMB sent to the federal government on Friday its assessment report which, according to reliable sources, stated that Mr Sharif’s medical reports were still incomplete and the board could not give its concerted opinion on his health and further explain, whether the former premier could travel back to Pakistan or not.

A senior official of the Punjab specialised healthcare department said the department had neither seen the reports nor the medical board’s opinion as it forwarded the sealed letter to the medical board and now returned the board’s opinion to the Punjab home department for onward transmission to the federal government.

However, sources privy to the medical consultations and opinions told Dawn that Mr Sharif’s three heart arteries were blocked and operated upon in 2016 and repaired. They said his two vital arteries — coronary and LAD — were functioning well but the third circumflex artery was blocked and an intervention was made to open the artery in 2017 but it was not successful. “Since the circumflex artery blockade is not life-threatening, no one will take a risk to conduct an open heart surgery,” the sources said.

They said Mr Sharif had been doing well on medicines for the last two years and had not undergone any procedure, so the medical reports were almost the same as already available, leaving not much room to comment or give an opinion on the questions of Mr Sharif’s physical condition for travelling back to Pakistan.

There was no official comment from the Punjab specialised health department till the filing of this report.