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PM NAWAZ UNDERGOES OPEN HEART SURGERY IN LONDON

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif underwent open heart surgery in a London hospital on Tuesday, his second cardiac procedure in five years, his daughter said.

Sharif’s surgery comes as his government prepares to present its annual budget on Friday. It also remains under pressure over allegations of corruption linked to the so-called Panama Papers.

Sharif “was in high spirits” when he went in to the operating theatre at about 8:00 a.m. (0700 GMT), his daughter, Maryam, said on her Twitter account. She did not say how long the surgery was expected to take.

The operation was for a “perforation of the heart”, a complication from a 2011 procedure, Maryam said in a Twitter post last week.

Sharif, 66, was prime minister for two terms in the 1990s before being overthrown in a 1999 military coup.

After years in exile, he returned to Pakistan in 2007 and led his party to a victory in a 2013 election.

Sharif has been accompanied to London by his brother, Shahbaz Sharif, who is chief minister of Punjab province, and several other family members and aides.

He has travelled to London for medical treatment several times over the past year.

On Monday, Sharif telephoned his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi, thanking him for his wishes for a quick recovery, the Pakistani Foreign Office said in a statement. Agencies