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Wednesday, May 22, 2024  
13 Dhul-Qadah 1445  

PML-N finally announces date for Nawaz Sharif’s return to Pakistan

He will touchdown Pakistan on October 21
Screengrab via Aaj News.
Screengrab via Aaj News.

Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will return to Pakistan on October 21, his brother Shehbaz announced in London on Tuesday.

Speaking to reporters outside their London house along with Nawaz and Khawaja Asif, Shehbaz said that Pakistan was on the path to progress until being stopped by the fake elections of 2018.

He also mentioned that Nawaz had given Pakistan the atomic bomb and ended loadshedding of upto 20 hours.

Party leader Marriyum Aurangzeb also confirmed the statement in a tweet.

“Important statement of former prime minister and President of Pakistan Muslim League-N Shehbaz Sharif, Muhammad Nawaz Sharif will return home on October 21,” she said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter. “Nawaz Sharif will be given a grand welcome upon his return to home.”

Nawaz has been in exile since 2019 and has mostly lived in London after being disqualified for life in the Panama Papers case.

Earlier this month, Nawaz told his party’s leaders that he would return to Pakistan next month, in October.

Former PM Shehbaz Sharif was re-elected as the party’s president for four years in June but clarified that the post was temporary and would be given back to Nawaz Sharif upon his return to the country.

“Nawaz Sharif will return from abroad to lead the country to progress and prosperity after becoming prime minister for the fourth time,” he said after intra-party elections held during a general council meeting of the PML-N at the party’s secretariat on June 17.

The possibility of Nawaz’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 he was released by the Islamabad High Court 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 that 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”.

Many experts and journalists had linked Nawaz’s return to Pakistan with the incumbent chief justice of Pakistan, whom he has been wary of.

“Nawaz Sharif is waiting for September 16. He thinks he will not get justice while Umar Ata Bandial is the Chief Justice of Pakistan. However, I think he will not return even after September 16, as he sees no favourable conditions. He wants the judiciary and the establishment to apologise to him,” anchorperson Javed Chaudhry told Shaukat Piracha on Rubaroo on August 4.

Justice Qazi Faez Isa, a senior puisne judge of the Supreme Court, would be Bandial’s successor.

The appointment will come into effect on September 17 when the CJP Bandial will retire, according to a statement from the President’s House.

CJP Bandial will reach the age of retirement on September 16 under Article 179 of the Constitution.

Nawaz’s disqualification

The Supreme Court disqualified Sharif on July 28, 2017 from holding public office in a decision on the Panama Papers case. Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, who had headed the apex court’s implementation bench following its April 20 order on the Panama Papers case, announced that the larger bench had unanimously deemed Sharif unfit for holding office and would also order an accountability court to open references against him and his family, and other respondents.

Then Sharif was removed as PML-N head after a three-member Supreme Court bench led by the then by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar said that an individual disqualified under Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution cannot serve as head of a political party.

The verdict was in reply to as many as 17 petitions challenging the Elections Act 2017, which had been bulldozed through Parliament last year to pave the way for Sharif’s return to the PML-N’s helm as party president.

“Just for a man you are giving such decisions and you have no care for… did you bother to take suo motu on what Justice Shaukat Siddiqui said and former army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa said that injustice was made with Nawaz Sharif and a wrong decision was given for him,” Sharif said at a press conference in London on March 31.

He was speaking on the Supreme Court’s proceedings into the PTI’s petition challenging the ECP’s decision to postpone the elections to the Punjab Assembly from April 30 to October 8.

“This is a national issue,” he had said.

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Nawaz Sharif

Shehbaz Sharif

Marriyum Aurangzeb

Panama Papers