Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) President Shehbaz Sharif on Friday sought to rubbish speculation of a delay to party leader Nawaz Sharif’s planned return to Pakistan, saying his elder brother would be back in his homeland on Oct. 21.
Speaking to media after a meeting of the PMLN leadership in London, he denied reports that he had rushed back to the U.K. within 2 days of his return to Pakistan to convey an “important message” to Nawaz. He claimed that he had only returned to discuss the legal and political steps of the PMLN ahead of Nawaz’s return.
“Nawaz Sharif will return to a resounding welcome in Lahore and then address the nation at a rally at Minar-e-Pakistan where he will present the party’s plan to tackle poverty, unemployment and improve the economic situation,” he said. “Nawaz Sharif is the leader who took Pakistan to the path of progress and hope before, and delivered for the masses and will do so again,” he added.
Urging the public to recall the performance of the PMLN government from 2013 to 2017, he said then-prime minister Nawaz Sharif had ended load-shedding; advanced the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor; and invited billions in investment to the country. Nawaz, he emphasized, is a “ray of hope” for the nation. During Nawaz’s tenure, he recalled, inflation was low, GDP growth was at 6.5%; industries were thriving but Supreme Court judges had removed him from power.
“That’s when Pakistan was thwarted from racing to new heights and Nawaz’s mandate was stolen in a conspiracy against Pakistan. The elections were rigged in 2018 and millions of Pakistanis were deprived of the path of progress. Nawaz Sharif is coming back to Pakistan to start the same journey. He’s coming back as the savior and reformer,” he said, while criticizing PTI chief Imran Khan for teaching “vulgarity” to the nation that had damaged Pakistan.
In a brief interaction with media, PMLN Senior Vice-President Maryam Nawaz maintained her father would get a “historic” reception in Lahore upon his return, adding preparations for the event were underway. To a question on rumors that Nawaz might delay his return or abandon his plans altogether, she said this was part of politics. “These rumors will die. I don’t pay much attention to rumors,” she added.