Officials clueless Nawaz Sharif's return to Pakistan after brother Shehbaz takes charge as PM

Several corruption cases had been launched by the government of ex-prime minister Imran Khan against the 72-year-old Sharif since his ouster from office by the Supreme Court in July 2017.

Published: 12th April 2022 04:48 PM  |   Last Updated: 12th April 2022 04:48 PM   |  A+A-

Former Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif

Former Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif (Photo | AP)


LAHORE: The jury is still out on whether deposed Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif will return to Pakistan from London after Eid next month or once he gets a clean bill of health from his doctors or a reprieve from the country's courts in corruption cases pending against him, according to PML-N officials.

A debate in the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has begun on the return of the party supremo and the three-time prime minister Sharif's expected return after his younger brother Shehbaz Sharif became the new prime minister of the country.

Although PML-N parliamentarian Javed Latif has claimed that Sharif will return to the country after Eid which will be celebrated in the first week of May, the party spokesperson has asserted that nothing is final on Sharif's comeback till he is declared fit to travel by his doctors.

"Mian Nawaz Sharif will return to the country once his doctors in London declare him fit to travel. Besides, the decision on it will be taken in consultation with the party leadership," PML-N central spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb told PTI on Tuesday.

Several corruption cases had been launched by the government of ex-prime minister Imran Khan against the 72-year-old Sharif since his ouster from office by the Supreme Court in July 2017 in the Panama Papers case.

In November 2019, Sharif left for London after the Lahore High Court granted him four-week permission allowing him to go abroad for his treatment.

He had given an undertaking to the Lahore High Court to return to Pakistan, citing his record to face the process of law and justice within four weeks or as soon as he is declared healthy and fit to travel by doctors.

Sharif was also given bail in the Al-Azizia Mills corruption case in which he was serving seven-year imprisonment in Lahore's Kot Lakhpat jail. The court has declared him a proclaimed offender (PO) in the Toshakhana case. "Mr Nawaz's return to Pakistan largely depends on the relief he gets from courts in corruption cases pending against him," a senior PML-N leader told PTI.

He said if the deposed premier decides to return immediately, he will have to go to jail in the Toshakhana case in which he has been declared a proclaimed offender. "Unless Mr. Nawaz gets clean chit in a couple of cases against him here, he will not return to create difficulties to his party-led coalition government," the party leader said.

The PML-N has virtually ruled out an immediate return of Sharif. "Immediate return of Nawaz will provide Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) an opportunity to establish that he had no serious health problems and he was waiting for the regime change to return," he said.

Khan recently confessed that allowing Sharif to go abroad was a big mistake. The ex-prime minister and his party men often claim Sharif faked his illness to leave the country. Another PML-N leader said the 'appropriate time' for Sharif's return can be either just before the next polls or after it. "Nawaz may return before polls to lead his party's campaign," he said.

Nawaz's daughter Maryam, said the long journey of pain ended with the departure of the Khan's PTI government. "What's your idea of earthly happiness? Mine is to be vindicated in one's own lifetime! A long journey of pain, irreparable losses & arduous struggle ended in this smile," she said in a tweet.

Sharif's return to Pakistan has again made headlines in the country after ex-prime minister Khan became the first premier in the country's history to be voted out of power through a no-confidence motion held early Sunday.

The joint Opposition's no-confidence motion, which required 172 votes in the 342-strong parliament to pass, was supported by 174 lawmakers on Sunday, ending Khan's prime ministerial term and seemingly bringing an end to the protracted political crisis in Pakistan.

Sharif on Thursday hailed the Supreme Court's decision to restore the National Assembly after the deputy speaker dismissed a no-trust motion against Khan.

"People of Pakistan are thanking God that this decision has been announced. The premier made the common people of Pakistan starve. I would like to congratulate everyone in the country. People have gotten rid of such a person who ruined the country. He made common people starve. The dollar has reached 200 today and people are frustrated with inflation in the country," he said.

Sharif's brother and Opposition leader Shehbaz was sworn in as the 23rd prime minister of Pakistan on Monday, hours after ousted premier Imran Khan's lawmakers resigned en masse.


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