Shehbaz confirms PML-N supremo to return to Pakistan on Oct 21

LAHORE: Making the eagerly-anticipated announcement, PML-N President on Tuesday declared that former prime minister and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supreme leader Nawaz Sharif is set to return to Pakistan on October 21, after a four-year of self-exile. “With the arrival of Nawaz, the country’s economy would move on the right track and the journey of development will start again,” said Shehbaz while talking to the media in London, claiming that this would be reminiscent of the span of years from 2013 to 2018, when Nawaz was the premier of the country. He also added that his elder brother would keep the country’s interest at the forefront just like the latter did not succumb to any pressure while carrying out nuclear explosions in 1998. Party’s Central Information Secretary and former information minister Marriyum Aurangzeb, taking to microblogging site X, said that Nawaz will be accorded a grand welcome once he arrives in Pakistan. The PML-N president said that he would give a grand welcome to his party’s supremo in Lahore, adding that the people of the entire country were waiting for Nawaz’s return. Calling Nawaz’s ouster from power a “conspiracy“, Shehbaz said that this became the reason for the country of getting deprived of development and prosperity. “Nawaz was deprived of power under ‘conspiracy’, after which Nawaz Sharif did not lose power, but the people were deprived of development and prosperity,” he bemoaned. Shehbaz, earlier this month, had already clarified that his elder brother would face cases and lead the PML-N election campaign, negating the impression that the return of the former prime minister was a result of any “settlement”. Nawaz, who is embattled in various cases, left for his current abode in London in December 2019 on the pretext of a medical ailment, will return after almost four years just when the elections are around the corner. His departure from the country followed the relief provided to him by the Islamabad High Court (IHC) in the Al-Azizia reference case on the pretext of medical grounds. The Imran-led government declared Nawaz fugitive in February 2020 and the accountability court proclaimed him an offender in the Toshakhana vehicles reference later in that year. It is pertinent to mention that the preceding National Assembly and the Senate enacted the much-discussed Elections (Amendment) Act 2023, which not only empowered the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to unilaterally announce the election date but was also seen by many to pave the way for Nawaz’s. The act which was dubbed as “person specific” also limits the lawmakers’ disqualification period to five years with a retrospective effect. Earlier this month, PML-N Punjab spokesperson Azma Bukhari said that the PML-N supremo would not adopt an anti-establishment narrative. “Nawaz Sharif’s narrative will not be against anyone. It will certainly not resemble the narrative of the deposed prime minister Imran Khan, who continually criticises state institutions. “The PML-N supreme leader will aim to educate the people about the ground realities and lead the nation out of the existing crises,” Azma stated. “Nawaz Sharif knows a lot [of secrets] but he prioritises national interests above all else.” Nawaz Sharif was serving a seven-year sentence in a corruption case when he was granted rare permission to receive medical treatment abroad in view of a debilitating medical condition in October 2019, during the rule of the PTI. He flew to London on November 19, 2019, in an air ambulance and has not returned to the country since.  

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