Nawaz to return to Pakistan in October, confirms Shehbaz after London meeting

Nawaz Sharif's homecoming date discussed in PML-N huddle in London

Murtaza Ali Shah

  • Nawaz's return delayed because September is "too hot".
  • Decision taken after Shehbaz held two meetings with PML-N supremo.
  • Nawaz slams CJP, former judges for ousting him in 2017.

LONDON: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif will return to Pakistan in October, confirmed party President Shehbaz Sharif after holding a huddle in London.

“Nawaz Sharif will return to Pakistan in October and lead the election campaign,” the former prime minister told the media alongside his elder brother. However he did not confirm a specific date of Nawaz’s return.

On the other hand, family sources, told Geo News ahead of the meeting, that Nawaz is expected to return to Pakistan on October 15 of this year as per the family discussions.

According to the sources, the date was discussed between Nawaz, Shehbaz and close family members in London to decide that the PML-N supremo will return to Pakistan in mid-October.

Previously, Geo News reported that Nawaz will return to Pakistan by mid-September; however, there has been a change of plan in the last few days after the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) announced that elections are not possible within 90 days.

The sources said that Nawaz's return has been delayed till mid-October, not because of the ECP announcement but over the advice of party loyalists that September is too hot and severe for large-scale political gatherings, making mid-October a better time for return.

The decision to return around mid-October was taken after Shehbaz held two meetings with the PML-N supremo in London. Shehbaz arrived in London last Sunday after handing over the reins to Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar.

"It's the severity of weather that is being kept in mind in deciding the return date of Nawaz Sharif. There could be a further change but for now, the date of 15th October is final, and further discussions will take place around it," shared the trusted source.

The Sharif family lawyers and political aides had advised the PML-N supremo to come to Pakistan immediately after ending his Europe and Middle East visit, which started three months ago and ended three weeks ago when Nawaz reached London.

However, some within the PML-N have advised Nawaz that it's better to arrive in Pakistan after mid-September — once the current Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Atta Bandial retires.

To Nawaz, the whole PML-N, the Sharif family and the lawyers' advice remains that he should wait for the retirement of CJP Bandial, who is accused by the party of favouring the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) and going out of his way to facilitate Imran Khan.

Two days ago, Nawaz thundered at the current CJP and former judges who played a leading role in ousting him from power in 2017.

The PML-N supremo accused the superior judiciary of hounding him in revenge but went out of its way to facilitate PTI chairman and former PM Khan in his legal cases.

He lashed out after CJP Bandial asked the Islamabad High Court to hear Khan's Toshakhana disqualification and conviction case and also suggested that the PTI leader was wrongly convicted and not given enough time to defend himself.

Nawaz accused the "biased" judges and named former CJP Saqib Nisar and justice (retired) Asif Saeed Khosa and serving apex court judge Ijazul Ahsan and others for mistreating him and hounding him in the name of justice.

Nawaz said: "There was a time when CJP Saqib Nisar, Asif Saeed Khosa, Ijazul Ahsan, Sheikh Azmat Saeed, and another judge were obsessed with putting me behind bars, disqualifying me and ending my government at any cost.

"They left no stone unturned against us, witnesses are coming forward to expose what they did, and these voices are coming from within the institutions.

"Justice Shaukat Aziz Sididqui is not an outsider, he is from within the judiciary, he was a senior judge. He gave a witness statement. What bigger proofs are required?"

Reacting to CJP Bandial's and Justice Mazahir Ali Naqvi's intervention in Khan's case, he said that the PTI chief has been caught in the theft of billions and he is involved in corruption cases from Toshakhana to Al Qadir Trust for theft of billions, but the chief justice is trying to protect him.

Nawaz added: "The then chief justice (Saqib Nisar was hell-bent on pushing me against the wall but today's CJP is determined to save Imran Khan.

"He (Bandial) knows Imran Khan has destroyed the country, the economy, the national culture and has destroyed traditions. He has destroyed the nation’s moral fabric, has taught a culture of gangsterism, and violated Pakistan’s constitution again and again.

"It's well-known how he treated the opposition when he was in power and even when he was in opposition. He did nothing other than sit-ins and protests but despite all of that we worked and delivered."

Nawaz said the CJP is putting his career on the line for "this man".

He added: "I am disappointed that despite what is known about Khan’s destruction of Pakistan, he is doing this. Who doesn't know that it was General Bajwa who brought Imran Khan to power. It was General Faiz who brought him in. They supported him."

Nawaz said that it was Nisar who said on the record that Nawaz and his daughter Maryam have to be jailed at any cost in order to steal the 2018 elections.

"Saqib Nisar said on the record that we (the judiciary) have to bring Imran Khan to power because it was the decision of General Bajwa and General Faiz."

Nawaz reached London on November 19, 2019, when he fell critically ill in prison.

It was alleged by the family that the Khan-led government and his backers had tried to poison Nawaz. He was treated at the Harley Street Clinic and London Bridge Hospital for four months.

The three-time prime minister had been diagnosed with an immune system disorder and doctors in Pakistan recommended that he should go abroad for treatment as his condition continued to deteriorate despite the best possible care in the country.