ISLAMABAD - A good number of Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) leaders believe party supremo Nawaz Sharif should have better stayed indoors instead of dining at a London restaurant to avoid a new controversy over his health, sources said.

Close aides of the three-time Prime Minister told The Nation that while Sharif was genuinely ill, the government had used his restaurant picture for ‘political point scoring.’

 “We (several senior party leaders) sincerely believe he should have better avoided this visit. The party is already in trouble due to targeted accountability,” a close side of Nawaz Sharif, who spoke to him hours earlier said.

He said the party could have easily avoided this situation. “Nawaz Sharif says he never wanted to dine out but was convinced by family members for a change. He (Nawaz Sharif) will prefer to stay home now (after the controversy),” he added.

Other PML-N leaders said Nawaz Sharif’s visit to a restaurant in London was blown out of proportions.

A viral photo of Nawaz Sharif at a London restaurant with his family members raised suspicions about his health. Federal Minister Fawad Chaudhry uploaded the leaked photo on his Twitter account in which the PML-N supremo - diagnosed with an immune system disorder - appeared to be looking quite stable. The picture was also discussed at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan in Islamabad. PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb said a visit of an ailing person to a restaurant for a change was blown out of proportions.

Party says restaurant visit blown out of proportions

 “Doctors do advise the ill people to move around for a change. What was so different that the whole government came into actions,” she said.

The PML-N leader said Prime Minister Imran Khan immediately summoned Nawaz Sharif’s medical reports but never concentrated on the ever growing inflation.

 “The inflation is breaking all records but the government is targeting the political opponents. The government should look into the main issues,” she added.

The PML-N leader questioned whether it had controlled the price hike. “I wonder how they found time to stage drama on the health of Nawaz Sharif,” Marriyum Aurangzeb contended.

She said the medical reports of PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif were already submitted to the Punjab government. “They (the government should now divert their attention to the poor people of the country,” she remarked.

Yesterday, Nawaz Sharif’s lawyer Amjad Pervaiz submitted a medical report of his client in the Lahore High Court. The 10-page report regarding Nawaz Sharif’s health condition was submitted to the Deputy Registrar Judicial.

According to the report, the former prime minister was suffering from intracranial stenosis, a disease regarding the narrowing of the arteries inside the brain.

After Sharif’s various scans, the doctors have recommended him for heart treatment and his condition is still critical, added the report.  The health report was attested by the Pakistani High Commission in the United Kingdom.

The report said Sharif should stay in Britain until his treatment. The report also directed the former PM to have daily walk.

Last day, the Punjab government raised several objections to a medical report attached with an appeal of Nawaz Sharif to extend his bail period in the light of the Islamabad High Court’s decision. The appeal was filed with the Home Department Punjab on December 24.

The government has opposed stay of Sharif in London for medical treatment, and the home department has ordered the former premier to send his latest medical report. A medical board formed to consider the matter will then review the report and the decision to extend Sharif’s bail will be taken in accordance.

On December 30, a Positron-Emission Tomography scan of Sharif was performed at a private clinic in London while he was accompanied by his personal physician Dr Adnan Khan, son Hussain Nawaz, worker Nasir Butt and other officials.

On October 29, the IHC had suspended the sentence of former premier Nawaz Sharif on medical grounds for eight weeks in the Al-Azizia reference case. The court had ordered him to submit two surety bonds of Rs 2 million each to the court for securing his release.

A plea for bail had been filed by PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif for his brother Nawaz, who was under treatment at Lahore’s Services Hospital. The court further announced that for an extension in bail, the Punjab government should be approached.

On October 25, Nawaz Sharif had procured bail on medical grounds in the ongoing Chaudhry Sugar Mills case from the LHC. The former premier submitted two surety bonds worth Rs 10 million each for his release in the case.

Accountability judge Mohammad Arshad Malik had last year convicted Sharif in the Al-Azizia reference but acquitted him in the Flagship Investment case. Sharif was handed seven years in jail in the Al-Azizia reference with two fines – Rs 1.5 billion and $ 25 million. A disqualification of 10 years from holding any public office was also part of the sentence.

PML-N leader Uzma Bokhari said the government was targeting the opposition members because “they have nothing to show to the people.”

“Their performance is zero so they are taking more interest in opposition members’ personal activities. Is there a law that an ill person cannot visit a hospital,” she questioned.

Bokhari said the restaurant picture was presented as a ‘drama’ to defame the Sharif family. “They should not make a mockery of someone’s health. We have faced the courts in the past and will face them again. Those wanting to punish us for undone crimes will stand exposed,” she maintained.