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Pakistan’s political dynasts converge in Dubai to carve path for Nawaz Sharif’s return

Pakistan gears up for former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's return to the country

With former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Dubai, senior leaders of the country’s political dispensation have landed in the emirati capital fuelling speculation that Sharif will be soon coming back to Pakistan from his London exile.

Nawaz, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief, who went into a self-imposed exile on the pretext of health check-ups in London had been barred from contesting elections for life owing to cases against him in the Al Azizia and the Panama Papers controversies in 2017.

Besides his daughter Maryam Nawaz, the other leaders to fly to Dubai are Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari and his Foreign Minister son Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari. More political bigwigs are expected to reach Dubai to meet up with Nawaz.

Pakistani media reports that Nawaz and his daughter, Maryam Nawaz also met members of the Dubai Royal family.

With the top leadership assembling in Dubai, all of who are partners in the ruling alliance, it is believed they would be spearheading the next phase of Pakistani political realignments with focus on keeping former prime minister Imran Khan out of the political process. Imran Khan has not only fallen foul of the political establishment but has become the army’s favourite bete noire.

The country has been left in political turmoil by Imran Khan while the parliament is completing its five year term this year, necessitating the need for elections. With the financial situation pushing the country on the brink of default, the need for a people’s mandate for stable governance is urgently required. Most people feel that Nawaz’s political experience in public life and his relations with international relations will steer Pakistan out of the woods.

In a bid to pave the way for Nawaz’s political rehabilitation, the Pakistani parliament, also called the National Assembly, amended a law on Sunday limiting disqualification of an MP to a maximum of five years. This will enable Nawaz to contest the forthcoming elections as the landmark ruling by the Pakistani Supreme Court in the Panama Papers case was filed about six years back.

Nawaz has hinted that he would take the path of talks with the country’s estranged judiciary, the battling political parties and the military which is licking its wounds after Imran Khan’s supporters resorted to violence against the army’s institutions and senior personnel on May 9 this year. However, on the question of dealing with Imran Khan, Nawaz seems to be in favour of taking a hardline against the cricketer turned prime minister and his band of supporters.

Besides the political slugfest, and the economic chaos that Pakistan finds itself in, one of its most powerful institutions – the Pakistani Army also is battling insurgency in Balochistan and the TTP militants in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, stretching it beyond its capacities.

The fast-paced action taking place across the political and legal spectrums is geared up to ensure that Nawaz, considered to be the most discerning politician in Pakistan, will come back from his exile and give direction to the country.