ISLAMABAD (AP) — The political party of Pakistan's jailed former prime minister asked authorities on Monday to urgently move Nawaz Sharif to a hospital, saying his health was deteriorating rapidly and that he needed to be treated by his own doctors.
The request by Pervaiz Rashid, spokesman for the Pakistan Muslim League party, came shortly before a team of doctors visited the jail in the garrison city of Rawalpindi where Sharif is detained to examine the ousted leader.
Sharif, who has a history of heart disease, underwent open-heart surgery at a hospital in London in 2016. He has been held at the jail since July 13, when he returned from London to face a 10-year prison sentence on corruption charges. He has appealed that verdict.
The party, Rashid said, is not "seeking any concession" for Sharif but insists he should have the right to be treated by his doctor.
"Sharif should be allowed to be treated at a medical facility of his choice under the supervision of his doctor," Rashid told The Associated Press, adding that the party was extremely worried about Sharif's health.
Pakistan's mostly ceremonious President Mamnoon Hussain also appealed on Sharif's behalf, asking caretaker Prime Minister Nasir-ul-Mulk to ensure the jailed former leader gets adequate medical treatment.
The development came as candidates in the country's parliamentary elections were wrapping up their campaigning, which is to end at midnight.
Pakistanis will go to the polls on Wednesday to elect the 342-seat National Assembly, the law-making lower house of parliament, and the four provincial legislatures.
Opposition leader and legendary cricket player Imran Khan and Shahbaz Sharif, the brother of the jailed former premier, as well as other candidates were expected to address their final rallies in eastern Punjab province, Pakistan's most populous.
Nawaz Sharif has been barred from holding public office following his ouster last July by the country's Supreme Court over corruption charges.
In an audio message from his prison cell, Sharif called on people to vote for his Pakistan Muslim League party.
"Vote massively for PML-N to change the fate of the country and to defeat the forces who have played havoc with justice in this country," said Sharif.
His party has alleged that Pakistan's powerful military establishment was supporting Khan for the post of next prime minister — an allegation the military denies, stressing it is not interfering in politics or backing any one party.
Wednesday's vote has been marred by stepped-up violence. A Taliban suicide bombing on Sunday in northwestern Pakistan killed a candidate running for a seat in the provincial assembly from Khan's party and his driver and wounded three other people. The slain candidate, Ikramullah Gandapur, was buried Monday in Dera Ismail Khan.
Earlier this month, a provincial assembly candidate was killed in a massive suicide bombing in Mastung district in southwestern Baluchistan province, along with 148 people. Also, in the northwestern city of Peshawar, a suicide bombing this month killed another provincial assembly candidate and 20 others.