Nawaz Sharif returns: For Delhi, scepticism only plausible reaction - The Tribune India

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Nawaz Sharif returns

For Delhi, scepticism only plausible reaction

Nawaz Sharif returns

Nawaz Sharif left for London in 2019 to receive medical treatment while serving a 14-year prison sentence for corruption. - File photo



NAWAZ Sharif left for London in 2019 to receive medical treatment while serving a 14-year prison sentence for corruption. Back after four years of self-imposed exile following the grant of protective bail, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz supremo has hit the ground running. The 73-year-old veteran politician’s conviction remains in force, but his sights are set on a fourth term as Prime Minister. Nawaz’s confident return is a dead giveaway that his topsy-turvy relationship with the military, which plays an outsized role in Pakistani politics, is in a cordial phase. It’s a far cry from 2018, when Nawaz accused it of backing his main rival Imran Khan. Now, Imran is in jail on corruption charges after a fallout with the military.

There’s a sense of déjà vu, but exactly how things will pan out is unclear. Appeals will decide their fate but as of now, both Nawaz and Imran can’t contest. Shehbaz Sharif served as Prime Minister from 2022 till earlier this year, and his elder brother’s return gives the party a fillip ahead of the general election in January. Imran remains popular and making a dent in his support base is a challenging proposition. Pakistan is facing overlapping security, economic and political crises. For Nawaz, it would be an uphill task to establish himself as a viable option despite the military backing.

Pakistan has been reeling under ballooning debt and record-breaking inflation. Nawaz has sought to reorient the discourse on India with the state of the economy very much on his mind. No country, he said, can progress while fighting its neighbours. For New Delhi, scepticism can be the only plausible reaction. An end to cross-border terrorism is the starting point of any re-engagement. Nawaz and his patrons have a dismal track record on that count.

#England #London #Nawaz Sharif #Pakistan


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