Pakistan’s jailed former prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, has been flown by air ambulance to the UK after Imran Khan’s government let him to seek medical treatment abroad.
The three-time prime minister flew to Qatar and then London after his doctors said he had become dangerously ill while nearly a year into a seven-year sentence for corruption.
The 69-year-old former leader of the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) party was given permission to leave the country for four weeks and has had to give assurances he will return.
But his departure has led to speculation a deal with the government is in the offing, allowing him to seek exile abroad in return for his freedom.
Mr Khan has repeatedly said he will not allow a deal that would allow Mr Sharif to escape justice.
Newspapers and television channels have delivered daily updates on Mr Sharif’s medical condition.
His doctors say he has heart problems and an immune condition and the platelets in his blood that aid clotting have dropped to dangerous levels.
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They say they are at a loss to diagnose his ailments and he needs specialist treatment abroad.
He was flown out of Pakistan on Tuesday morning on a dedicated air ambulance complete with an intensive care suite and operating theatre.
Mr Khan has vowed to punish former leaders he claims looted the country. Mr Sharif was ousted in 2017 after the Panama Papers leak linked his family to offshore companies and four Park Lane flats.
He was later jailed in another case, but has been on bail for medical treatment. The opposition claims the corruption purge is being used to victimise political rivals however, and crush dissent against the powerful military, which is seen as backing Mr Khan.