A screengrab taken from the video of a private TV channel's talks show.
Tariq Butt, Correspondent
Ailing celebrated veteran comedian and actor Umer Sharif has sent a video message to Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan via a TV talks show, requesting the assistance to receive urgent medical treatment.
“The doctor has told me that I need to go abroad to receive the best treatment,” Sharif said in his message. “I helped in the making of Imran Khan’s Shaukat Khanum Cancer Hospital. I request him to come to my support just like I have come to his whenever he has called me.”
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Political Communication Shahbaz Gill was called on to the show to respond to Sharif’s request. Gill expressed sorrow at the actor’s predicament and assured that the government would help him.
“I’ll personally relay Sharif’s message to the prime minister. We’ll get in touch with the three countries as well. I’ll make efforts to make arrangements for his treatment. We’ll get in touch with the Saudi and German embassies first,” Gill explained.
“Since these countries are nearer to Pakistan, that will be an advantage. We’ll also get in touch with the US. Whichever country agrees to facilitate us, we’ll involve it in Sharif’s case.”
Gill also assured that the government will do whatever it can for Sharif in regards to paying for his treatment as well.
The host explained why Sharif is requesting the prime minister’s support. “The main issue here is that doctors say Sharif needs to go abroad to receive treatment in the next 15 to 20 days. It’s not that he needs to go abroad to get the best quality of treatment. The treatment for his ailment is only available abroad according to some of the best doctors in Pakistan. The treatment is found in only three countries; America, Germany and Saudi Arabia.”
“Because of COVID-19 restrictions, it’s hard to make travel arrangements for a sudden trip. These arrangements can only be made on the basis of support from state institutions, not on the basis of an individual’s own efforts which will only cause delay. The doctors have said it is imperative that [Sharif receives treatment] in the next two to three weeks.”
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