In a significant turn of events, former Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has officially announced the return date of his elder brother, Nawaz Sharif, to Pakistan. The news has sparked excitement and curiosity across the nation, as Nawaz Sharif, the supremo of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), is set to lead his party’s political campaign in the upcoming elections.
The Homecoming Date
According to Shehbaz Sharif, Nawaz Sharif is scheduled to touch down in Pakistan on October 21st. This announcement comes after a pivotal meeting of the PML-N‘s top leadership, presided over by Nawaz Sharif himself in London.
Nawaz Sharif’s absence from Pakistan has been prolonged since November 2019 when he embarked on self-imposed exile in London due to health reasons. His exile was preceded by a life-disqualification by the Supreme Court in 2017, which was a result of not declaring a receivable salary.
The decision to finalize Nawaz Sharif’s return date was reached after extensive consultations with PML-N members. Shehbaz Sharif highlighted that Nawaz’s contributions to Pakistan, including the nation’s attainment of nuclear capabilities, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), and the elimination of 20 hours of electricity load-shedding, deserve recognition. Shehbaz Sharif also mentioned that Nawaz had declined a substantial financial package offered to him in exchange for not pursuing nuclear power for Pakistan, citing the country’s interests as being far more valuable than a monetary offer.
A Grand Welcome Awaits said Marriyum Aurangzeb
Upon Nawaz Sharif’s return, a grand welcome is planned, as confirmed by Shehbaz Sharif. The elder Sharif is expected to land in Lahore, where his brother Shehbaz will be there to receive him. The entire nation eagerly awaits Nawaz Sharif’s return, with hopes that the country and its economy will progress once more, following his disqualification and removal from power in 2017.
The recent meeting in London was attended by prominent PML-N figures, including Suleman Shehbaz, Hassan Nawaz, former federal minister Khawaja Asif, Malik Mohammad Ahmed Khan, and Nasir Janjua. Discussions revolved around the party’s strategy for the upcoming elections, Nawaz’s return, and the Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) stance on the elections.
Nawaz’s Own Confirmation
Nawaz Sharif himself confirmed his impending homecoming while interacting with his party workers and supporters at Stanhope House. This decision followed Shehbaz Sharif’s two meetings with him in London, shortly after his arrival in the UK capital on August 20th. This trip followed his relinquishing of the government’s reins to Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar.
A Long-Awaited Return
The anticipation of Nawaz Sharif’s return has been a recurring theme in PML-N discourse, especially in the lead-up to the general elections. Earlier in the year, former interior minister and senior party leader Rana Sanaullah hinted at Nawaz’s “honorable homecoming” after overcoming legal challenges. He suggested that Lahore should be Nawaz’s landing point and assured a warm welcome for him.
The question on everyone’s mind is whether Nawaz Sharif’s return is linked to the upcoming elections. If the elections are to be held within the 90-day limit, they are due on November 9, 2023. However, it’s important to note that before dissolving the assemblies, the coalition government, in a Council of Common Interest (CCI) meeting, unanimously approved the 7th Population and Housing Census 2023. Following CCI’s approval, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) announced the schedule of new delimitations on August 17th. This schedule potentially exceeds the 90-day constitutional limit, suggesting that the elections might take place after this mark.
Nawaz Sharif’s return to Pakistan on October 21st is a significant development in the country’s political landscape. It not only marks his reentry into Pakistani politics but also signals a potential shift in the dynamics of the upcoming elections. The nation awaits his return with bated breath, as his presence is expected to have a substantial impact on the political climate.