Islamabad – Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif left for London in an air ambulance on Tuesday, days after a court granted him permission to seek treatment due to declining health.
Sharif, who served three terms as Pakistan’s leader, was serving a seven-year jail term on corruption charges emanating from the so-called Panama Papers leaked in 2017, but was allowed to leave on medical grounds.
“Sharif has left the country for treatment in an air ambulance,” Sharif’s close aide Sen. Pervaiz Rashid told media at the airport in eastern city of Lahore.
Sharif was accompanied by his younger brother and a personal physician.
Local TV channels aired images of Sharif’s departure from the airport, with his party’s senior leaders and workers present to see him off.
The 69-year-old is suffering from several medical conditions, including chronic diabetes, cardiovascular issues and a dangerous drop in the platelet count in his blood.
His party, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), had pushed for authorities to allow the medical treatment and was shifted to a hospital from the jail and was then granted permission to seek treatment abroad.
Sharif was expected to be flown in an air ambulance last Tuesday but he delayed the departure due to a government request asking Sharif’s family to submit a surety bond of seven billion Pakistani rupees (44.8 million dollars).
A court later rejected the conditions.
Sharif became prime minister three times but did not complete a single one of his terms.
His tussles with powerful generals, who have ruled the country for half of its existence, were at the heart of his removal on all three occasions.