Pakistan's ex-PM Nawaz Sharif's health deteriorates

Former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif. Reuters file photo

Pakistan's jailed former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's health deteriorated on Sunday as his blood platelets count reduced from 45,000 to 25,000 followed by breathing problems, days after he was granted bail by two courts on health and humanitarian grounds.

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Saturday granted bail to Sharif in the Al- Azizia corruption case till Tuesday in which he is serving seven-year imprisonment.

A day earlier, he had also secured bail in the money laundering case from the Lahore High Court. Bail has been granted in both cases on medical grounds.

"Nawaz Sharif's platelets reduced on Sunday to 25,000 from 45,000. There has been a slight improvement in the health of the patient, however, his condition is still serious," Services Hospital principal Dr. Mahmmod Ayaz told reporters.

Sharif was rushed to the Services Hospital on Monday night from the anti-graft body's custody after his platelets dropped to a critically low level of 2,000.

Sharif on Saturday also suffered angina pain while undergoing treatment at a Lahore hospital. Angina is a type of chest pain caused by reduced blood flow to the heart.

"Nawaz Sharif also suffered an angina attack, but fortunately it did not damage his heart,” Punjab Health Minister Dr. Yasmin Rashid said.

She said Sharif is also facing breathing problems.

"Sharif has been a heart patient for a long time and complication occurs if diabetes and blood pressure of a heart patient go out of control," she said.

Saqib Shafiq, a medical board member treating Sharif, said: "Sharif's latest electrocardiogram (ECG) reports shows he is somehow better now. Complication in diseases increases if the heart muscles are affected. The blood pressure of the patient is also normal”.

He said Sharif's platelet count is fluctuating and he is administered injections of intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) regularly.

"Following the angina attack, Sharif is being given medicines for blood thinning," he said.

Sharif’s personal physician Adnan Khan said: "Sharif is being managed on the lines of acute ITP (Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura) treatment protocol, on Platelet Transfusions, IV Steroids & IV Immunoglobulins. The definitive diagnosis is yet to be ascertained".

"Sharif has severe atherosclerotic ‘coronary and carotid artery disease’ with co-morbidities (HTN, DM, CKD) and because of subsequent serious effects of treatment developed NSTEMI (Non-ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction); being managed on ACS protocol," he said.

"Critical Thrombocytopenia (low platelets count) & NSTEMI (Non ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction), both of serious nature & consequences, has made the clinical status extremely & critically unstable putting health & life of Mr Sharif at risk," he added.

The medical board said that they have diagnosed the reason for Sharif’s declining health as Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP), a bleeding disorder in which the immune system destroys platelets.

Sharif's mother met him at the hospital and stayed with him for some time.

His daughter, Maryam Nawaz, was also present.

Maryam has been given special permission by the Punjab government to stay with her father on the directions of Prime Minister Imran Khan.

There are reports that Maryam has been allowed to stay with her father in order to persuade him to leave for London for better treatment as he is "seriously ill".

A close aide to Sharif and former foreign minister Khawaja Asif said that the PML-N has decided not to force Sharif to go abroad for treatment.

"Nawaz Sharif’s condition is serious. It will only be his own decision about going abroad (London) for treatment. We will not push him for this,” he said.

According to doctors, 50,000 platelets and beyond are required for a patient to be declared fit for air travel. 

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