Home Latest News Nawaz Sharif to Return to Pakistan on Oct. 21: Shehbaz Sharif

Nawaz Sharif to Return to Pakistan on Oct. 21: Shehbaz Sharif

PMLN president says his elder brother will land in Lahore and lead the party’s campaign ahead of general elections

by Staff Report

File photo. Arif Ali—AFP

Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) President Shehbaz Sharif on Tuesday announced his elder brother, and PML-N leader, Nawaz Sharif will return to Pakistan on Oct. 21 to lead the party’s campaign ahead of general elections.

“Nawaz Sharif will reach Pakistan on Oct. 21,” he told journalists in London, where he has been residing since the incumbent caretaker government assumed office last month. His statement was confirmed by PMLN spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb in a posting on X. “Important statement of former prime minister and president of PMLN Shehbaz Sharif—the architect of Pakistan and the leader of the people Muhammad Nawaz Sharif will return home on Oct. 21,” she wrote, adding he would be “warmly welcomed” upon his arrival to Punjab capital Lahore.

Nawaz has been in self-imposed exile in London since November 2019 after being allowed to leave Pakistan on court orders due to health reasons. He still faces a prison term upon his return, with PMLN leaders claiming he would submit himself to court and seek bail and the dismissal of his conviction.

The PMLN, over the past two years, had repeatedly issued timelines for Nawaz’s return to Pakistan, but this is the first time the party has provided a specific date. Political observers say this was a “do-or-die” moment, as the PMLN has been significantly dented by rampant inflation during the tenure of Shehbaz and needs Nawaz to lead the election campaign or risk political irrelevance. It has also assured pundits that elections would occur as promised by early February, as they maintain the PMLN would not risk Nawaz returning without having a committed election timeline.

However, sources within the PMLN admit Nawaz will have a tough road ahead, as he would not only need to revive his party’s grassroots support, but also overcome the damage done to it by “anti-people” policies of the Shehbaz Sharif government.

In his media interaction, Shehbaz said the date for Nawaz’s return was finalized after consultation with senior party members. Praising the three tenures of his elder brother as prime minister, he said the credit for Pakistan’s nuclearization; the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor; and ending load-shedding “goes to Nawaz.” Maintaining that the country would have prospered if the “flawed” elections of 2018 had not occurred, he vowed the journey of development would continue from where Nawaz had left it in 2017 after his ouster through the Panama case. “Nawaz wasn’t deprived of power; Pakistan’s people were deprived of development and prosperity,” he added.

To a query on the PMLN’s stance on a date for general elections, Shehbaz said conducting polls was the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP)’s constitutional responsibility and hoped it would fulfil this duty fairly.

In a brief interaction with media, Nawaz was questioned on the legacy of outgoing Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial. Referring to a leaked alleged call, he said the legacy would be defined by Bandial’s “mother-in-law.”

PMLN leader Khawaja Asif, likewise, said Bandial would be remembered as a “pro-Imran [Khan] judge.” Alleging that the outgoing CJP had “destroyed” the reputation of the judiciary through his biased decisions, he said Bandial had now joined the ranks of “disreputable” figures such as Nasim Hassan Shah; Asif Saeed Khosa; Saqib Nisar; and Azmat Saeed. “Umar Ata Bandial shamelessly and blatantly violated the Constitution of Pakistan. History will never forgive him,” he added.

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