Pakistani PM unwell, tests positive for COVID for 3rd time

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan’s prime minister tested positive for the coronavirus and was feeling unwell on Tuesday, a day after returning from London, the country’s information minister said.

It was the third time that Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif had tested positive for the virus; the first two times were in June 2020 and in January this year. Information Minister Maryam Aurangzeb asked the nation in a tweet to pray for his quick recovery.

Sharif travelled earlier this month to the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, where he participated at the annual U.N. climate summit, known as COP27, and from there went on to London on a private trip to see his elder brother, former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

The elder Sharif was disqualified from running for office by the country’s Supreme Court in 2017, and has been convicted of concealing assets abroad and sentenced to 10 years. He has been living in exile after a Pakistani court released him on bail and allowed him to leave the country in 2019 for medical treatment abroad.

His daughter, Maryam Nawaz, was sentenced to seven years in the same case, over charges connected with the purchase of luxury apartments in London. The daughter, who is also the vice president of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League, was acquitted of all charges by an appeals court in September.

Prime Minister Sharif had extended his London stay after feeling a slight fever while there and returned home on Monday. He became premier in April after a no-confidence vote in Parliament ousted his predecessor, cricket star turned Islamist politician Imran Khan.

Khan, who was wounded in the leg by a gunman who attacked his protest march on Islamabad earlier this month, has claimed his ouster was the result of a conspiracy orchestrated by Sharif and the United States — charges that both the premier and Washington have dismissed.

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