A picture of ailing former Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif has gone viral on social media. In the picture, he is seen dining at a London cafe, drawing flak from the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). Sharif was allowed to leave for London in November last year for medical treatment after his health deteriorated considerably. According to his son Hussian Nawaz, Sharif will undergo a cardiac procedure within a week.
A three-term prime minister, Sharif was disqualified as prime minister by the country's Supreme Court in 2017 after a case was filed by the then opposition leader and the present Prime Minister Imran Khan. He was accused of corruption and his name appeared in the infamous Panama Papers. He was given a 10-year prison term.
His health deteriorated in jail after which he was allowed to leave for London for medical treatment in November 2019.
After his picture went viral, Pakistan's ruling party was quick in criticizing the former prime minister.
"Scenes of a meeting in the intensive care unit of a London hospital, the treatment for binge-eating is underway with sheer concentration, all patients are feeling better," Pakistan's Science and Technology Minister Fawad Chaudhary wrote on Twitter.
The picture was also reportedly discussed at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Khan in Islamabad, Pakistan's Dawn News reported. Soon after Sharif left Pakistan, Khan took a dig at his predecessor, saying, "This man could die any minute if he did not go abroad for treatment. But he suddenly recovered and looked perfectly fine as he got a glimpse of the London-bound air ambulance."
'Picture being politicized'
Nawaz said his father was taken to the restaurant on doctor's advice as he felt claustrophobic at home and that the picture was being politicized.
"We insisted that father visited a restaurant so he could get acclimatized, he left the residence on our insistence," said Nawaz. "Doctors ordered us that Nawaz Sharif needed to go on small walks for at least two times in a day and we paid heed to their recommendation," he added.