- Former premier says whole nation is awaiting Nawaz Sharif’s return
Former prime minister and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif would return to Pakistan on October 21, his brother and party president Shehbaz Sharif confirmed on Tuesday.
Former information minister and PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb also confirmed the development in a post on X, formerly Twitter.
“Nawaz Sharif will be given a grand welcome upon his return home,” she added.
Nawaz was said to return to Pakistan in September to lead PML-N’s election campaign earlier. However, in the Nawaz-Shehbaz meeting, it was decided Nawaz would delay his return until a later date.
Talking to the media in London alongside Nawaz today, Shehbaz said that the decision on the PML-N supremo’s return was taken after consultation with the party.
To a question, Shehbaz said that Nawaz Sharif would land in Lahore, where he would be given a grand welcome.
“The whole nation is awaiting Nawaz Sharif’s return. The country and economy will progress again the same way where Nawaz Sharif left Pakistan in 2017” when he was disqualified and removed from power, Shehbaz said.
Shehbaz had said in July 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.
Nawaz has been in exile since 2019 and has primarily lived in London after being disqualified for life in the Panama Papers case.
The possibility of Sharif’s return was increased after the Senate passed amendments to the Election Act, changing the limitations of how long a parliamentarian can be disqualified.
In the rules passed by the upper house on June 17, in cases where the duration has not been specifically outlined, a person’s disqualification to run for provincial or central legislatures will not exceed five years.
They also have a chance to overturn their disqualifications with the help of four sections of the Supreme Court (Review of Judgements and Orders) Act 2023.
Sharif left for London on November 19, 2019, after the Islamabad High Court released him on bail from a seven-year sentence for corruption. His bail was approved on medical grounds for eight weeks in the Al Azizia case.
He was diagnosed with an immune system disorder. The 70-year-old PML-N supremo had got bail in two corruption cases and is facing another reference by the National Accountability Bureau.
His departure had come after deliberation and undertaking by his brother and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, who stated he would “ensure the return of his brother within four weeks or on certification by doctors that he has regained his health and is fit to return back to Pakistan”.