PM’s Heart Surgery
Taliban leader killed
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who used to visit London for regular medical check- ups, had an open-heart surgery this week. According to media reports four of his arteries were grafted in four-and-a-half hour long operation at a private hospital in London where doctors declare the procedure successful. Prime Minister’s daughter Maryam Nawaz announced the news of her father’s successful surgery through her tweets. It was his second cardiac procedure in five years.
According to his family the operation took place after Nawaz Sharif’s doctors decided it was necessary to deal with complications from a separate heart procedure five years ago that had gone wrong. Maryam Nawaz also told media that prime minister’s health is improving and he is expected to return to Pakistan within few weeks. She also said that those who thought that they could get anything done of their choice by building pressure on him were mistaken.
The prime minister’s surgery came at a key time in the legislative calendar of the country, with the annual budget for 2016-17 fiscal year due to be announced. Nawaz Sharif chaired two key budget meetings through videoconferencing before budget announcement. During the meetings, he said the Pakistani economy had improved since his party came to power in 2013. Nawaz Sharif’s surgery also comes as he faces pressure from opposition parties for an investigation into the source of his family’s wealth amid corruption allegations.
Deadlock continued this week at the fourth meeting of the parliamentary committee, which was discussing the terms of reference (ToRs) for an investigation into the Panama leaks. On the request of opposition leaders, the meeting was postponed without any action keeping in view the open-heart surgery of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
After the meeting, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader Aitzaz Ahsan told the media that it was decided in the third meeting of the committee that the government would give its reaction in black and white to the 15 ToRs submitted by the opposition. He however said that the government did not submit its response. Shah Mahmood Qureshi of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) also expressed disappointment over cancellation of the meeting. He said the committee would be able to finalise the ToRs only if the government shows seriousness.
Meanwhile leader of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Asif Ali Zardari strongly denied reports about his meeting with Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazal ur Rehman in London last week. In a press statement issued by the PPP, Zardari stated that PPP had already decided to pursue the Panama leaks issue to its logical conclusion. The former president said that media reports regarding an ‘understanding; with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on the issue of Panama leaks were ‘false, untrue and baseless’.
Earlier, it was reported that JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman met with Asif Ali Zardari in London and suggested him to have a meeting with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to hammer out consensus with the government on controversial issues.
Pakistani government and security agencies have finally confirmed the death of Afghan Taliban leader, Mullah Akhtar Mansour in a drone strike earlier this month. A spokesman of the Ministry of Interior said that it had been confirmed through DNA test that the second person killed in the US drone attack in Balochistan was former chief of Afghan Taliban.
Meanwhile, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz also confirmed the death of Afghan Taliban chief. According to interior ministry’s spokesperson, the other person killed in the attack has already been identified. The minister also said that the government had arrested the suspects who facilitated Mullah Mansour in acquiring a Pakistani national identity card (NIC).
Meanwhile Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif, in a meeting with President Mamnoon Hussain strongly condemned the drone attack. COAS told the president that ‘the word unfortunate was very small for US drone attack in Balochistan’. He said the strike was in violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty and integrity, and added that US has already been conveyed that ‘such attacks are unacceptable to Pakistan,
The US has carried out hundreds of drone strikes in Pakistan, mainly in the border tribal regions with Afghanistan. This drone strike was, however, the first in the province of Balochistan, considered a red-line by the Pakistani government.
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