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'PML-N begins preparations to welcome Nawaz Sharif'

The ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) in Pakistan on Friday announced that it has started preparations for the return of its "self-exiled" supreme leader Nawaz Sharif from London. The 72-year-old former three-time premier had left for London in November 2019 after the Lahore High Court granted him four-week permission allowing him to go abroad for his treatment. But he never returned to Pakistan where he was convicted of corruption and jailed. The PML-N has begun preparations to welcome Nawaz Sharif. He will return ahead of the elections, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah told a press conference here on Friday.

'PML-N begins preparations to welcome Nawaz Sharif'

The ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) in Pakistan on Friday announced that it has started preparations for the return of its "self-exiled" supreme leader Nawaz Sharif from London. The 72-year-old former three-time premier had left for London in November 2019 after the Lahore High Court granted him four-week permission allowing him to go abroad for his treatment. But he never returned to Pakistan where he was convicted of corruption and jailed. The PML-N has begun preparations to welcome Nawaz Sharif. He will return ahead of the elections, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah told a press conference here on Friday.

He said if the Punjab and Kyber Pakhtaunkhawa assemblies are dissolved on the wish of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chairman Imran Khan then Sharif will return before elections in the two provinces as his presence will boost the party's chances of winning. The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) which has a coalition government in Punjab and Kyber Pakhtaunkhawa has announced that it would dissolve both assemblies if the federal government of Shehbaz Sharif does not agree on general elections across the country. The general elections are due in October/November 2023 as the tenure of the assemblies is going to be complete in August 2023.

Federal Minister Sardar Ayaz Sadiq has also claimed that three-time premier Nawaz Sharif will return to Pakistan in January. ?Nawaz Sharif will return to the country next month and also award party tickets to those aspiring to contest the polls, Sadiq said.

After Shehbaz managed to become the premier in April last, some PML-N leaders were excited and wished their party's supreme leader was among them soon. However, corruption cases against him seem to be a significant hurdle in his return. Nawaz Sharif is looking for 'relief' in the corruption cases to pave the way for his return, the PML-N said.

Prior to his exit, the now-PM Shehbaz had submitted an undertaking to the Lahore High Court ensuring his elder brother would return ?within four weeks or on certification by doctors that he has regained his health and is fit to return back to Pakistan. Sharif was convicted by an accountability court in 2018 which sentenced him to seven years in prison in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills case, while he was sentenced to a total of 11 years in prison and slapped an ?8 million fine in the Avenfield properties case.

Subsequently, in 2019, the Lahore High Court (LHC) after suspending his sentence, allowed him to go abroad for medical treatment. Known as the 'Lion of Punjab', Sharif became the prime minister in the politically unstable Pakistan for a record three times. He led the country's most powerful political family and the ruling PML-N party for more than three decades.

 

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