Ailing Nawaz Sharif spotted dining out in London

Pakistan's former prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, is seen sitting with friends and family members at a cafe in London on Jan. 13, 2020. (Photo courtesy: Social media)
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Updated 16 January 2020

Ailing Nawaz Sharif spotted dining out in London

  • A photo of the former PM sitting at a London cafe has gone viral
  • Sharif was granted medical bail to seek treatment in UK

ISLAMABAD: Landing in hot water from across the ocean, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif has made headlines on Tuesday, when a photo leaked to social media showed him sitting at a cafe in London, where he has been for medical treatment after court-granted bail.

The photograph was taken on Monday.

The photo has become viral, prompting responses from both opposition leaders and Sharif’s own Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). While the photo show’s former premier back, there is little doubt that it is him. Sharif is accompanied by other prominent members of the PML-N – his brother Shehbaz Sharif and Ishaq Dar, former finance minister.

Science Minister Fawad Chaudhry posted the photo along with a sarcastic caption.

“Visits to a meeting in the intensive care unit of a London hospital,” he wrote in a Twitter post. “The treatment of Eat Drink Disease continues” and “all patients are feeling better,” he said.

The tweet has garnered over 17,000 likes, 4,000 retweets and a number of comments demanding explanations from both the PML-N and the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). The former premier’s medical bail has been widely debated.

Sharif was convicted in a corruption case in 2018.

Journalist Maleeha Hashmey responded to Chaudhry’s post with her own, calling the photo an “interesting update from London.”

“I think this is the ICU of a hospital because the condition of all the patients is very critical,” she wrote and concluded the tweet with: “Get well soon, guys!”

To clear the air, Sharif’s doctor, Adnan Khan, took to his own social media account on Tuesday afternoon, with the patient’s latest medical reports, insisting that all concerned parties were up to date on the former prime minister’s health condition.

“Echocardiogram & Holter Analysis were submitted this morning at 06:37 AM London, UK (GMT) to the Government authorities & sent directly to the concerned Minister & officials as well,” alongside attached photos of the medical reports.

PML-N lawmaker Hina Butt had a jab at all critical reactions following the release of the photo. “If a picture of Nawaz Sharif could not be tolerated by the incompetent government, what will happen when Nawaz Sharif comes to Pakistan?” she wrote on Twitter.



Alice Wells in Pakistan to discuss Afghan peace, regional security

Updated 19 January 2020

Alice Wells in Pakistan to discuss Afghan peace, regional security

  • The US deputy secretary of state for South and Central Asia visited Sri Lanka and India prior to her arrival
  • On Friday, FM Qureshi reminded Washington of Pakistan's help in Afghan peace process and asked for help in FATF issue

ISLAMABAD: Alice G. Wells, chief US diplomat for South Asian affairs, arrived in Islamabad on Sunday on a four-day visit centered on discussions regarding the peace process in Afghanistan, bilateral and regional issues, the US embassy in Islamabad said in a statement on Sunday.
Wells — US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs — was received at the airport by foreign office and US embassy officials. She has been on a tour of South Asia since Jan. 13 and has been to Sri Lanka and India prior to her arrival in Pakistan.
Wells’ visit to Islamabad comes immediately after Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Qureshi concluded his trip to the US where he interacted with senior United Nations and American officials in New York and Washington. 
According to Amir Rana, director of prominent Islamabad-based think tank, Pakistan Institute of Peace Studies, the Afghan peace deal will be top of Wells’ agenda during her Pakistan tour.
Pakistan’s role in recent developments in the Middle East has positioned it as “an effective backdoor communication channel between Iran and the United States,” he added. 
In a news briefing in Washington on Friday, Qureshi strongly urged the US to help get Pakistan off the grey-list of global anti-money laundering watchdog, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) at a decisive meeting in Beijing next month. A downgrade from the grey-list could result in crippling economic sanctions.
During the briefing, Qureshi said Pakistan had fulfilled its commitments to the US on facilitating the Afghanistan peace process, brought the Taliban to the negotiating table and assisted in releasing western hostages from insurgents — and had met FATF’s demands. 
The foreign minister reminded Washington: “Pakistan fulfilled your expectations. Now, we too had some expectations, what have you done (for us)?”— hinting Pakistan expected the US would help Islamabad in turn.
The US has consistently enlisted Pakistan’s help in facilitating rocky US-Taliban negotiations, which are reported to be inching near a peace deal this month.
“This is a sequel to Foreign Minister Qureshi’s visit, to coordinate the expected peace deal signing with the Taliban and potential US troops’ pullout from Afghanistan,” leading security analyst, Imtiaz Gul, told Arab News. 
Political expert Taimur Shamil told Arab News: “FATF is a tool to politically pressure Pakistan to do America’s bidding in Afghanistan. It... will likely continue till the Afghan issue is resolved.” 
Wells is expected to meet Prime Minister Imran Khan and army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa during her visit, as well as foreign minister Qureshi.
Her last visit to Pakistan was in August last year.