Minister makes outlandish claims about ex-PM’s health

KARACHI: The government on Friday shared the confidential medical reports of PTI chief Imran Khan’s tests, supposedly conducted during his custody earlier this month, claiming that no fracture was found on his legs, while traces of alcohol and an illegal drug were found in his urine sample, and that his mental stability was questionable.

The details were shared by Health Minister Abdul Qadir Patel in Karachi at a press conference, laden with his own brand of sarcasm and personal attacks on Mr Khan.

Mr Patel described the PTI chief’s medical report as a “public document” and said he didn’t need anyone’s permission to release it. He rejected questions surrounding the moral and ethical grounds for releasing someone’s health records.

The minister also announced he would share more information about Mr Khan as a detailed report was still awaited.


PTI vows to take legal action against Qadir Patel, others

Mr Patel said it all began on May 9 after Mr Khan’s urine sample was obtained at a National Account­ab­ility Bureau’s (NAB) office shortly after the former prime minister was arrested in a corruption case.

He claimed Mr Khan was completely examined by a medical boa­rd comprising five senior officials of the Polyclinic and Pakistan Insti­tute of Medical Sciences (Pims).

Reading from the medical fitness report, the only one shared with the media, the health minister said Mr Khan appeared under stress and displayed symptoms of anxiety during the examination.

The report claimed that Mr Khan was also angry about recent events and had little insight into the seriousness of the current situation. It also questioned his mental stability.

Ironically, however, the report’s findings showed nothing to support these remarks. In fact, it showed almost all tangible indicators were normal.

Mr Patel then referred to Mr Khan’s “initial” urine test report, which he claimed suggested extensive drug and alcohol use, but the minister was unsure about the ratio of their consumption. Still, he insisted on its findings. He said a detailed report would be shared with the media once finalised.

On legal action again Mr Khan based on these findings, the minister said the government would go to the police once the ratios of such substances were finalised and reported.

The police, Mr Patel said, would then guide the government under which sections of the Pakistan Penal Code the PTI chief could be booked.

About the findings of a fracture to Mr Khan’s leg, the minister said the team of doctors had found no injury that required a plaster for months. In November, the PTI chief sustained bullet injuries in his leg during an assassination attempt in Wazirabad.

The minister also hinted at action against the doctors at the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital, who had declared a fracture to Mr Khan’s leg and recommended him complete rest.

Mr Patel said that he would write to the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council — the regulatory body related to hospitals and doctors and had a disciplinary committee present to take action against fake and wrong practices — seeking summons for the doctors who had recommended a plaster on Mr Khan’s leg.

However, the government’s decision to share the PTI chief’s medical records was widely criticised.

“Even if he [Imran Khan] is a public figure, the medical report of any person isn’t a public document,” lawyer Abdul Moiz Jaferii told Dawn. “Condition of confidentiality must be applied to such findings.”

He believed that Mr Patel’s presser even gave a provision to the PTI chairman to seek legal action for defamation.

In fact, hours after Mr Patel’s conference, the PTI issued a sharp rejoinder and said that it would pursue legal action against the health minister.

“Imran has approved bringing the health minister, NAB, health ministry and Pims doctors to justice,” the party said in a statement on Twitter.

The PTI said its legal team, under Barrister Abuzar Salman Khan Niazi, had initiated preparations and action would be taken against Mr Patel under defamation and other laws.

Party leader Farrukh Habib described Mr Patel’s claims as examples of “shamelessness and vulgarity” and said the PTI would not “tolerate any more nonsense” or permit it.

Published in Dawn, May 27TH, 2023