Zardari’s health deteriorates, family mulling heart surgery

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Shafaqna Pakistan:The health condition of former president and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari on Thursday further deteriorated with an “abnormal increase in heart rate and chest pain”.

According to reports, Zardari’s family is considering heart surgery for the PPP leader. The hospital sources have said that coronary stents have already been installed in Zardari’s body. However, the doctors have warned that an operation may prove dangerous for the former president.

On Wednesday, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) ordered the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) to form a medical board to determine Zardari’s ailment and asked it to submit a new medical report by December 11.

A two-member bench presided by IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah heard the petition which sought Zardari’s bail on medical grounds.

During the hearing, the court inquired about Zardari’s latest medical report from his lawyer Farooq H Naek.

“He has cardiovascular disease. The Punjab government had formed a medical board previously,” Naek replied.

Adjourning the hearing till December 11, the court ordered that Zardari’s personal physician to be made part of the new medical board.

The PPP leader, who was arrested in June this year for his alleged role in a multi-billion rupees money laundering case, moved the court on Tuesday over a month after the former premier Nawaz Sharif was given similar relief.

The government later also permitted Nawaz to fly abroad for treatment.

Currently, under treatment at the PIMS hospital in Islamabad, Zardari moved the petition through his lawyer and nominated the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and Islamabad Accountability Court-II as respondents.

The petition says Zardari has been suffering from multiple diseases — like diabetes, cervical lumbar and spondylosis, sensory and motor neuropathy with impaired proprioception.

According to the petition, Zardari has a Holter monitor attached to his chest, enabling doctors to check and note variations in his heartbeat and blockages in his arteries. It also notes that Zardari is a patient of ischemic heart disease, which means his heart may have an inadequate supply of blood and oxygen.

The petition also states that Zardari suffers from arthritis with a low platelet count, and all these illnesses cannot be treated within the premises of the jail. “The petitioners’ condition makes it evident that his continued incarceration would prove detrimental to his life.”

It says the former president requires around the clock attention and with his deteriorating health, his life may be at risk. The petition states that Zardari has been in jail since October 22, 2019, and has not shown any signs of improvement.