Former PM says whole country waiting for Nawaz’s return n Claims PML-N supremo will be given historic welcome n Pakistan will restart journey of development where Nawaz left Pakistan in 2017: Shehbaz.
ISLAMABAD/LONDON - Former prime minister Shehbaz Sharif announced on Tuesday that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif, who is in self-exile for the last four years, will come back to Pakistan on October 21.
“After a detailed discussion in the party (meeting), it has been decided that Mian Nawaz Sharif will come back to Pakistan on October 21. The whole country will give historic welcome to him. The whole country has been waiting for his return,” Shehbaz Sharif said while talking to reporters in London.
The PML-N also released a statement by Shehbaz on social media, PML-N Information Secretary Marriyum Aurangzeb shared the video statement on X stating that the party founder would be given a grand welcome upon return.
While talking to media persons in London alongside Nawaz Sharif, Shehbaz said that Nawaz would land in Lahore and he would receive his elder brother there. “The country and economy will progress again in the same way where Nawaz Sharif left Pakistan in 2017” when he was disqualified and removed from power in fake cases, Shehbaz said. Responding to a question, Shehbaz said that holding elections was the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) constitutional duty. “It is the ECP’s responsibility to hold elections in line with the new census and I fully hope that it will fulfil its constitutional responsibility.”
The party has announced on several occasions that if the PML-N was voted to power in the forthcoming elections, Nawaz would be the party’s candidate for the slot of prime minister.
According to the statement, it was said that Nawaz Sharif is set to end his four-year exile in the UK and he will land in Lahore on October 21st where the party founder would be given a grand welcome.
Also, Shehbaz said that the credit for Pakistan’s attainment of nukes, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and the ending 20 hours of electricity load-shedding in the country “goes to Nawaz”.
“Nawaz returned with thanks the package which was offered to him for not making Pakistan a nuclear power, saying that Pakistan’s interest was much more than $5 billion,” Shehbaz further said. If the momentum of Pakistan’s progress in the industrial and other sectors during the period from 2013 to 2018 hadn’t broken with the flawed elections of 2018, the PML-N president said, the country would have been much ahead in the field of development.
“Nawaz wasn’t deprived of power but Pakistan’s people were deprived of development and prosperity.”
Reportedly, the London meeting was attended by Suleman Shehbaz, Hassan Nawaz, former federal minister Khawaja Asif, Malik Mohammad Ahmed Khan and Nasir Janjua. The party’s strategy regarding the election, Nawaz’s return and the Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) stance on the elections came under discussion.
Both Nawaz and Asif condemned Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Atta Bandial while speaking to media, and accused him of making decisions under the influence of his mother-in-law who is a vocal PTI supporter and whose audio leak caused sensation in Pakistan.
When asked about the legacy of CJP Bandial, who retires in four days, Nawaz said that his legacy will be defined by his “mother-in-law”.
Meanwhile, Asif said: “Bandial will forever be known as a pro-Imran judge. He destroyed the reputation of judiciary through his tainted decisions. He joins the league of disreputable figures like Justice Nasim Hassan Shah, Asif Saeed Khosa, Saqib Nisar, Azmat Saeed. Umar Atta Bandial shamelessly and blatantly violated the constitution of Pakistan. The history will never forgive him.”
He said Bandial is blackmailed and succumbed to pressure and made decisions accordingly.
Nawaz Sharif left the country in November 2019 on medical grounds following his conviction in a corruption case but never returned. Sharif’s departure took place approximately 20 days after the Islamabad High Court’s order, which granted him temporary relief on medical grounds in Al Azizia case. Later, he was declared as an absconder in Feb 2020 by the government and later in the same year, an accountability court had declared him a proclaimed offender in the Toshakhana vehicles reference as well.
In June, an accountability court also acquitted Nawaz in a reference pertaining to the alleged illegal allotment of plots in 1986 to the owner of a media house. The case was among several others in which members of the Sharif family were cleared after a ruling coalition led by the PML-N came to power in April last year following the ouster of PTI chief Imran Khan as the prime minister through a no-confidence vote.
The PML-N leaders have repeatedly mentioned Nawaz’s homecoming ahead of the general elections in the past. The return of Nawaz Sharif in the country is being considered as a revival of party politics as he has the vote bank especially in Punjab. In a significant development, the National Assembly and Senate had approved the Elections (Amendment) Act 2023 in June, which empowered the Election Commission of Pakistan to unilaterally fix the date for elections and also limits the lawmakers’ disqualification period to five years with retrospective effect.
The bill was termed as “person-specific legislation” by the opposition because it was expected to benefit Nawaz and newly formed Istehkam-e-Pakistan Party (IPP) patron Jahangir Khan Tareen.
It is pertinent to mention here that these two were disqualified for life more than five years ago after a Supreme Court judgement ruled that the disqualification under Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution was for life.