• Former premier to meet Nawaz Sharif during visit.
  • Meetings to entail discussion on PML-N supremo’s return.
  • Other party leaders to also join Sharifs in London.


 

LONDON: Former prime minister Shehbaz Sharif landed in London on Sunday — a much-anticipated visit during which the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) is expected to deliberate on its election campaign and party supremo Nawaz Sharif’s return.

It is the younger Sharif’s first visit to the UK after his 16-month tenure in the government ended this month. The former premier is accompanied by his son, Salman Shehbaz, on the visit.

According to party sources, Shehbaz will conduct crucial meetings with PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif during his visit to London. Meetings will also be held with other important leaders of the party, who will join him there.

Several former federal ministers are already present in the UK capital to partake in the aforementioned meetings between the party’s leadership during which Nawaz’s return would be discussed.

The party’s legal team is also expected to participate in the meetings to deliberate on the legal hurdles of the party supremo, as per sources in the PML-N.

On August 9, Shehbaz Sharif said that Nawaz Sharif will return to Pakistan in September and added that he would travel to London to hold detailed consultations with his elder brother in this regard.

“Nawaz Sharif will come back to Pakistan next month and will face the law and lead the election campaign,” he told Capital Talk show host Hamid Mir in an interview without giving the exact date of Nawaz’s homecoming who has been in self-imposed exile in London since November 2019 owing to health reasons.

“He [Nawaz] will neither wear a hat nor a bucket,” Shehbaz said.

Nawaz went to London in November 2019 for medical treatment after he was convicted by an accountability court in graft cases and he has been living there since then.

In 2016, Nawaz stepped down as the prime minister after the Supreme Court disqualified him for life for concealing assets.

Later, the PML-N supremo was convicted in the Al-Azizia and the Aveinfeild Apartment references filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) which emerged in the aftermath of the Panama Papers leak.

His appeals against the conviction are currently pending in the relevant courts.

Earlier, speaking on Geo News programme ‘Aaj Shahzeb Khanzada Kay Sath’, PML-N leader Khawaja Asif had expressed his severe concerns over the behaviour of the apex court, especially during the past few months, saying: “One should not take the risk of Nawaz Sharif’s return” in this situation.

Earlier this month, a three-member bench of the Supreme Court — headed by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Munib Akhtar — ruled that the Supreme Court (Review of Judgments and Orders) Act 2023 was “unconstitutional”.

Essentially, the apex court’s verdict dampened the hopes of ex-PM Nawaz Sharif and Jahangir Tareen who were seeking to challenge their lifetime disqualifications.

Both Nawaz and Tareen were disqualified under Article 62 of the Constitution by the SC. Had the verdict been in favour of the petitions, both leaders would have gotten an opportunity to challenge their disqualifications, keeping in view their political ambitions amid the upcoming general elections in the country following the completion of the tenure of the National Assembly.

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