Shehbaz chairs high-level party meeting on Nawaz's return

Arshad Waheed Chaudhry
PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif addressing the media on Friday. Photo: Wires 

LAHORE: A high-level Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) huddle chaired by party president Shehbaz Sharif on Sunday decided that former premier Nawaz Sharif and his daughter, Maryam Nawaz, should land in Lahore upon return to Pakistan.

"Shehbaz chaired a high-level party huddle in Model Town to finalise a future course of action in light of the party supremo's return to the country, expected next week," sources said. 

"The meeting discussed whether Nawaz and Maryam should land in Islamabad or Lahore and concluded that the father-daughter duo should arrive at the provincial capital," sources said.

Nawaz and daughter Maryam were sentenced on Friday to 11 and eight years in prison and slapped £8-million and £2-million fines, respectively, in relation to the Avenfield properties reference filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) last year. 

Following the verdict, the father-daughter duo vowed to return to Pakistan on July 13 and challenge the verdict against them in the high court. 

The meeting chaired by Shehbaz was attended by top party leaders, including former National Assembly speaker Ayaz Sadiq, former railways minister Saad Rafique, former interior and development minister Ahsan Iqbal and Shehbaz's son Hamza Shehbaz, sources said. 

According to sources, the PML-N president decided to direct the party's ticket holders to lead groups of supporters to welcome the party supremo when he returns to the country. 

In case party supporters are restrained by the caretaker government from proceeding to the airport to welcome their leader, sources said an alternative plan of action will also be finalised. 

Will land in Lahore in a few days, vows Maryam

Following the high-level party meeting, Maryam announced that she and Nawaz will arrive in Lahore upon return to Pakistan.

“We will land in Lahore in a few days,” Maryam said while speaking to the media in London.

The former premier’s daughter vowed, “We will lead the struggle for democracy in Pakistan.”

“We will sacrifice for the benefit of the nation and the generations to come,” she said.

“No matter what they do, voters cannot be stopped,” she asserted.

The PML-N leader further said, “The movement to 'respect the vote' has reached a decisive phase.”