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Nawaz Sharif returns to Pakistan after 4 years

Nawaz Sharif returns to Pakistan after 4 years

ISLAMABAD, OCT 20: Deposed prime minister and proclaimed offender Nawaz Sharif returned to Pakistan on Saturday afternoon after spending four years in London.

The PML-N supremo’s legal team including former law minister Senator Azam Tarar and party leaders are present at the airport to receive him.

Tarar said Nawaz will be consulted on political and legal issues upon his arrival, adding that the ex-premier will head to the VIP lounge after landing.

He confirmed that the court staff also reached the airport and now “the legal process of security guarantee will be completed”.

Ex-deputy mayor Zeeshan Naqvi was also present at the airport along with the oath commissioner for signing legal documents. The legal team of Nawaz will go inside the plane to take his biometrics and signatures.

Before boarding his flight, Nawaz said he was “happy to return”. He is likely to face a host of legal challenges before embarking on his election campaign to rev up his party’s prospects in the lead-up to elections due in Jan next year.

Party leader Ishaq Dar said Nawaz would arrive at Minar-i-Pakistan at 5pm today on schedule to address the gathering.

“On a media channel, there is news that Mian Nawaz Sharif will first go to Jati Umra and will later go to Minar-i-Pakistan at 7pm. This news is not true,” he said in a post on X (formerly Twitter).

Nawaz’s party is rallying its base, urging supporters to converge on Minar-i-Pakistan in Lahore from around the country to greet their leader and showcase the undiminished popularity of the party, which has been declared ‘irrelevant’ by its rivals.

Observers say the reason Nawaz is arriving in Islamabad instead of Lahore is that his touchdown in the capital was necessary to make bail, earlier granted by the Islamabad High Court on Oct 19.

“I’m going back to Pakistan after four years today,” Nawaz said today while speaking to the media at Dubai Airport. “When I was leaving Pakistan and going abroad I had no feeling of happiness but today I am happy.”

The ousted premier added that it would have been very good if the situation of the country was better today as compared to 2017.

“I get very worried and disappointed seeing the situation in the country. The country that had to move forward is going backward now economically and unity-wise.”

Terming the situation as “worrisome”, Nawaz said there was still hope and “we should not let it slip from our hands as we are capable of fixing it because we spoilt it ourselves”.

He said the country had to get back on its feet as nobody would lift us up.

“When I remember Pakistan back then, I get hurt, we had said goodbye to the International Monetary Fund, electricity was cheap, the rupee was stable, there was employment, roti cost Rs4, a poor family’s child went to school and medicines were also cheap.”

Throws weight behind ECP
Nawaz said only the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) can decide when polls will be held, adding that it was the only competent authority and a fair election commission.

“Whatever date the ECP announces, everyone will [abide by it]. My priority is whatever the ECP says. Pakistan has a fair ECP today and I feel it will make the best decision with regards to the election.

“The process takes time. Some work is left. A census has been done. Delimitations have to be carried out. ECP has an eye on all these things.”

Lamenting the treatment meted out to him in the past, Nawaz said he was the person who had gone through 150 court hearings. “Not just me but also my daughter. She even got a clean chit. She had to get it. She didn’t have a position during my government, not even an office.”

He said fake cases were not just filed against his family including former prime minister and his brother Shehbaz Sharif but also ex-interior minister Rana Sanaullah Khan and PML-N leader Hanif Abbasi.

“I even said before leaving that I leave everything to Allah and I still continue doing that.”

Nawaz smirked and said “We are the May 28 ones” when asked about the May 9 violence allegedly carried out by the PTI.

Pakistan conducted nuclear tests on May 28, 1998, under the leadership of the then prime minister Nawaz.

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