Pakistan to let ex-PM Sharif go abroad for medical treatment – foreign minister

In this file photo, Pakistan's ailing former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, center, enters a car as he leaves the Supreme Court following the shrine land case hearing in Islamabad on Dec. 4, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 08 November 2019

Pakistan to let ex-PM Sharif go abroad for medical treatment – foreign minister

  • Prime Minister Imran Khan has said everything possible should be done to show Sharif’s life is protected, says FM Qureshi
  • Sharif has dominated Pakistani politics for three decades and denies corruption charges against him

LAHORE: Pakistan will allow Nawaz Sharif to leave the country for medical treatment in the United Kingdom, its foreign minister said on Thursday, though he warned the former prime minister against seeking a second period of exile to escape corruption charges.
“Doctors are recommending that he perhaps needs to go abroad for further examination,” foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told Reuters in an interview.
“If that is what the medical treatment requires, the government has been positive. The prime minister has said everything possible should be done to show his life is protected.”
Three-time PM Sharif, 69, was released on bail last month from a seven-year sentence for corruption after repeated medical issues.
Sharif, who has dominated Pakistani politics for three decades, denies the corruption charges, claiming they are politically motivated.
He previously lived in exile in Saudi Arabia for seven years after being toppled by the Pakistan military in 2000, though Qureshi urged Sharif to return to complete his sentence.
“If their hands are clean, why should they be running away?” he said of the possibility Sharif may seek a second period of exile.
“I hope he recovers. When he recovers, why should he be sticking around in London? There’s no logic, there’s no reason for that.”
Sharif’s party, the main opposition Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), declined to comment on Qureshi’s remarks.
But two senior party figures who declined to be named said it was now likely that Sharif would travel abroad for treatment, adding that he would not seek exile for a second time.


Pakistani doctor who died of COVID-19 applauded as hero in Saudi Arabia

Updated 05 June 2020

Pakistani doctor who died of COVID-19 applauded as hero in Saudi Arabia

  • Dr. Naeem Khalid Chaudhry will be remembered for his illustrious contributions to the fields of medicine and social work — Pakistan’s Consul General
  • Colleagues say he never hesitated while treating COVID-19 patients

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s diaspora community and medical professionals in Saudi Arabia have paid rich tribute to a Pakistani general surgeon, Dr. Naeem Khalid Chaudhry, who became the first medic in the kingdom to have lost his life to the coronavirus disease, COVID-19, two days ago in Makkah where he worked in the General Surgery Department at the Hira General Hospital.
Chaudhry was 46 years old and belonged to the northeastern district of Narowal in Pakistan’s Punjab province. He moved to Saudi Arabia in 2014 with his family to work as a surgeon in Islam’s holiest city. He is survived by his wife and three daughters who also live in Makkah.
Tooba Chaudhry, the wife of the deceased doctor who also works at the Hira General Hospital as a Radiologist, said that her husband kept on performing his duties throughout the pandemic and showed mild symptoms of the disease on May 14.
“He had mild fever and complained of fatigue on May 14, and it was established that he was suffering from COVID-19 after a medical test that was performed the same day. We started treating him and he showed signs of improvement until the beginning of this month. Then suddenly his condition deteriorated which also proved fatal,” she told Arab News on Friday.
“My three daughters and I have also tested positive for COVID-19, but we are now stable. Our symptoms have disappeared, but the hospital has not called us for a second test,” she added.
“Pakistan’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia and officials at the consulate general in Jeddah called me and assured full support to my family,” she continued. “The Saudi officials also allowed me to bid farewell to my husband in a fully protective outfit.”
Consul General of Pakistan in Jeddah Khalid Majid said the deceased doctor would be remembered as an indefatigable philanthropist for his illustrious contributions to the fields of medicine and social work.
“He was an important member of the medical team fighting against COVID-19 in the Makkah region. Pakistani community in Saudi Arabia has indeed lost a sincere compatriot who served humanity with zeal and sincerity,” he told Arab News on Friday.
Saudi Ambassador to Pakistan Nawaf bin Said Al-Malki also prayed for the Pakistani surgeon while recognizing his services to the kingdom.
“I offer my condolences and prayers for the family of the Pakistani surgeon Naeem Khalid Chaudhry, who moved to the mercy of Allah Almighty due to his infection with the virus COVID-19, while performing his duty on the frontline against pandemic at Hira General Hospital in Makkah,” he said in a Twitter post.
Dr. Muhammad Irfan, Chaudhry’s colleague and close friend, told Arab News that his coworker performed his duties tirelessly and with utmost dedication.
“I was with him in the surgical department for the last six years. He was a close friend and very good surgeon. He never showed a sign of hesitation while treating the COVID-19 patients,” he said while requesting the Pakistani diplomatic mission and the Saudi authorities to look after his family.
“The whole hospital is in a state of shock since Dr. Chaudhry was very popular due to his professionalism,” Dr. Muhammad Saleem, ICU (Intensive Care Unit) specialist, at the Hira hospital told Arab News while confirming that his late colleague had contracted the virus during the course of his work.
“He [Chaudhry] got COVID-19 infection two weeks back while performing hospital duties. We used best possible hospital resources for his recovery but unfortunately he could not survive,” he added.
Dr. Asad Ullah Roomi, president of the Pakistan Doctors’ Group (PDG) in the kingdom, said all Pakistani medical professionals were in the forefront of this fight against the coronavirus pandemic along with their Saudi colleagues.
“Dr. Chaudhry was a very hardworking and skillful surgeon. He was also academically involved in the training of his juniors,” he told Arab News, adding: “He was also an active contributor to a Pakistani doctors’ charity initiative and provided free medical services to the underprivileged individuals in the Makkah region.”
Dr. Zia Ullah Dawar, a public health specialist at the Saudi ministry of health in Jeddah, remembered Chaudhry in these words: “He was a thorough professional who had never hesitated from his duty despite all its dangers.”
He also revealed that the Pakistani surgeon served about five times in the southwestern border city of Jazan on the request of the Saudi health ministry.
“Chaudhry used to help the Pakistani community in Makkah and provided free services to the deserving people,” Dawar continued. “He was about to be promoted in about a month from a surgical specialist to a consultant.”