Nawaz to return to Pakistan next month, says PM Shehbaz

The elder Sharif departed the country in November 2019 for medical treatment following his conviction in a corruption case. He has not returned since.


Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif speaks during the Geo News programme Capital Talk. PHOTO: GEO NEWS YOUTUBE/ DAWN

August 11, 2023

ISLAMABAD – Outgoing Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday said PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif would return to Pakistan next month.

“After the caretaker government takes the reins, I intend to take a trip to London where I will finalise the programme with him. If God permits, he will return to Pakistan next month,” Shehbaz said about the expected return of his elder brother on Geo News programme ‘Capital Talk’.

The elder Sharif departed the country in November 2019 for medical treatment following his conviction in a corruption case. He has not returned since and faces multiple cases in Pakistan.

When Shehbaz was asked about the possibility of the caretaker government “creating any issues” for Nawaz upon his return, the PM replied, “He will face the law.”

He further said that God willing, Nawaz would lead the PML-N’s election campaign and assume the role of the prime minister for a fourth time if the PML-N would emerge victorious in the polls, which are likely to be delayed after the notification of the latest census.

Nawaz’s expected return next month would also coincide with the retirement of Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial, who PML-N leaders have termed an impediment in the way of Nawaz’s return.

Meanwhile, in what was seen as a move to pave the way for Nawaz’s return, the National Assem­bly and Senate 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, dubbed as ‘person-specific legislation’ by the opposition, was expected to benefit Nawaz and newly-for­med Istehkam-i-Pakistan Party (IPP) patron Jahangir Khan Tareen. The 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.

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 have been cleared since 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.

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