Islamabad, September 23
Insisting that there was no change in party supremo Nawaz Sharif’s plan to return to Pakistan next month, former prime minister and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) president Shehbaz Sharif has said his elder brother would present an ‘agenda of progress’ on October 21, media reports said here on Saturday.
Ending his self-imposed exile in London, 73-year-old Nawaz, also the three-time prime minister, is expected to return to Pakistan on October 21 and lead the PML-N party in the general election declared to be held in January 2024. He had left Pakistan on ‘medical grounds’ in 2019.
“Nawaz Sharif will return to a resounding welcome in Lahore, and will then address the nation at a rally at Minar-i-Pakistan where he will present the party's plan to tackle poverty, unemployment and improve the economic situation,” Shehbaz told reporters after a meeting with Nawaz, party vice president Maryam Nawaz and former finance minister Ishaq Dar at London, the Dawn newspaper reported.
The increase in political activity in the PML-N camp comes after the September 15 Supreme Court of Pakistan's ruling that scrapped the recent amendments to the country's anti-graft laws and restored corruption cases against several public office holders, including Nawaz Sharif.
The apex court had announced its reserved decision on jailed former prime minister Imran Khan’s plea filed last year, challenging the amendments made to the accountability laws by the then government led by Shehbaz Sharif.
Spending barely two days in Pakistan, Shehbaz had returned to London on Thursday after he had landed late on Monday night returning from a month-long stay in the UK capital meeting with his brother and other party leaders in view of the upcoming general elections.
The PML-N president was quoted by Dawn as saying that the meeting (in London) was called to discuss Nawaz’s next legal and political steps. Asked if he had returned to London to “give a special message from the establishment” to Nawaz, the party president was quoted as answering that the meeting discussed “the legal and political next steps for Mian (Nawaz) sahib.”
The News International further quoted Shehbaz as saying: “There was ‘zero substance' in the speculation that was going around that he had rushed to London, days after reaching Lahore, with ‘a special message' for his elder brother.”
The Dawn also quoted Shehbaz’s comments on Pakistan’s current economic condition and how when Nawaz was ruling between 2013 and 2017, he ended 20 hours of load shedding, mainstreamed CPEC, and invited billions in investment.
“What happened in 2018 [Nawaz's removal]… the nation saw what a joke was played. The country was thwarted from racing to new heights and Nawaz's mandate was stolen,” he was quoted further.
The News International quoted Shehbaz as saying further, “Sharif will present the agenda of progress and success. Nawaz Sharif is the leader, who earlier took Pakistan to the path of progress and hope, and delivered for the masses and will do so again.”
It also mentioned how Shehbaz's visit came days after videos of Nawaz calling for the accountability of former army chief Gen (retd) Qamar Javed Bajwa and ex-ISI chief Lt Gen (retd) Faiz Hamid were published by the London party headquarters on social media.
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