LONDON, June 24: Deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif has ruled out returning to Pakistan for now to face corruption charges, while his wife is on a ventilator at a hospital here.
Kulsoom, 68, was admitted to hospital in London in August last year after doctors found she was suffering from throat cancer. She has been undergoing treatment since then.
On June 14, she was shifted to the hospital’s ICU after she suffered a cardiac arrest and has been on life support since.
“Can I think of going back to Pakistan under such circumstances when Kulsoom is on ventilator? Do you think I should return to Pakistan leaving behind my wife in such a condition?” the three-time prime minister asked reporters outside a hospital in London.
On June 14, Sharif and his daughter Maryam left for London after being granted a brief exemption from the ongoing corruption trial against them.
The Sharif family is facing trial at an accountability court in Islamabad on corruption references filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) following the Supreme Court’s July 28, 2017 verdict in the Panama Papers scandal, disqualifying Sharif and directing the anti-graft watchdog to launch an inquiry.
Expressing his regret over not being able to see her while she was conscious, Nawaz said he planned on a four-day visit but was unsure about returning to Pakistan due to Kulsoom’s health. He said that the matter will be further deliberated upon after consultations with the doctors, the Express Tribune reported.
The supremo of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), however, asserted his intent to return ahead of the July 25 general election.
Sharif declined to speak on political matters and requested for prayers for his wife. “I will do politics once I return to Pakistan.” (PTI)