off record
Shaukat Ali Jawaid

Political patients and
the Professional Ethics


Former Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif’s illness, his medical reports which enabled him to leave the country for treatment abroad are once again in the news. The federal government now says that all these reports were manipulated fraud and they intend to approach the Lahore High Court to bring him back. The Government has every right to prosecute Mian Nawaz Sharif while the former Prime Minister has every right to defend himself in the courts. However, if what the government says is correct, the first and foremost thing which it should do is to prosecute the members of the medical board it had constituted which gave the reports and give them exemplary punishment. However, since the government has till today not moved in that direction, it is difficult to accept its narrative.

When Mian Nawaz Sharif was in Jail one of the cardiologists from Punjab Institute of Cardiology very close to the establishment was heard saying at the Pakistan Hypertension League meeting at Lahore that “ Nawaz Sharif was brought to PIC, we examined him he is Hatta Katta, is not suffering from any illness and he should be sent back to Jail”. He said it in front of two cardiologists from Sindh province. When I asked him can I report this with his name, he immediately refused.

Then I talked to another cardiologist from PIC who had examined Mian Nawaz Sharif in Jail. He said that “the former Prime Minister was seriously sick, he already has over half a dozen stents and any interventional procedure or surgery is very risky. We are all the time praying that he should not be brought to PIC and we don’t have to do any procedure as he is a very high risk case. Even in London, it may be recalled when undergoing a cardiac interventional procedure some time ago, one of his arteries had ruptured and emergency surgery saved him. Mian Sahib survived because he was in a healthcare facility in London equipped with state of the art facilities.” Keeping in view his condition, he further stated, it is amazing that Mian Nawaz Sharif was surviving as any intervention or surgery could be extremely dangerous.

It may be mentioned here that when he left London with his daughter to go to Jail after he was convicted by the court (the judge later said he was forced to do that) while his wife was in hospital on the death bed, some politicians had made some very uncharitable remarks saying that Mian Nawaz Sharif was just pretending and Kulsoom Nawaz was not sick. However, when she died, these politicians had to apologize and take back their words. It is better that opposition to political opponents is not converted into animosity as we already have a highly polarized society in Pakistan these days. Members of the medical professional are also expected to uphold professional ethics particularly while dealing with political patients.

Some people are allergic to the names of Sharif’s and it was one of the reasons that former Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar had intervened and not only destroyed the PKLI since Mian Shahbaz Sharif as Chief Minister of Punjab had provided financial assistance to build this state of the art healthcare facility but also humiliated the world renowned transplant surgeon Prof. Saeed Akhtar whose brain child PKLI was by calling him to his residence. The people of Pakistan will never forgive Saqib Nisar for this sin. However, it was heartening to note that the Honourable Supreme Court reversed all Mian Saqib Nisar’s decisions related to PKLI after his retirement and also restored its original structure as well as Prof. Saeed Akhtar. PKLI was making good progress and some consultants from Shaukat Khanum had resigned and joined this institution which was not palatable for some, hence PTI Government in Punjab intervened, changed the PkLI structure and forced Prof. Saeed Akhtar to resign. Some other doctors who had come from USA and Europe on Dr. Saeed Akhtar’s invitation also went back. That is why it is often said, that we in Pakistan do not need any external enemies, we are quite self-sufficient to destroy ourselves.

We should also not forget the fact that after physical elimination of Mr. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto through judicial murder, he still rules on the hearts of people of Pakistan. Neither his name could be eliminated nor the Pakistan People’s Party. Mr. Bhutto continues to frighten the establishment and his opponents from his grave. Mian Nawaz Sharif is also a very popular leader of Pakistan and it is better to deal with him politically. The developments which started with a WhatsApp call has pushed the country in serious economic and financial crisis. The situation is so grave that even our sovereignty is seriously threatened. It is these very experiments that we are facing the present situation. Let us ensure justice for everyone, political opponents should be dealt with politically. Each one of us should be honest and uphold professional ethics in our respective fields, refrain from intervening in areas which are not in our domain, Constitution of Pakistan has clearly laid down the rights and responsibilities of every one. Let us follow that.

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