English News

  • youtube
  • facebook
  • twitter

Will Nawaz Sharif’s return from “exile” for the third time prove lucky?

The former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is set to return to Pakistan after Eidul Fitr which is scheduled to be celebrated on May 2 and 3.

The former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is set to return to Pakistan after Eidul Fitr which is scheduled to be celebrated on May 2 and 3. This was confirmed by his close confidante and Pakistani federal minister Javed Latif on Wednesday. Javed Latif is considered a close political aide to  Sharif. He kept on updating the people on Nawaz Sharif’s plan and acted as a spokesman of the PML-N supremo and his daughter Maryam Nawaz.

Latif made clear that  after his return, Nawaz Sharif will face the cases as per the law and the constitution as “he believes in court and will accept its verdict.”

Despite all efforts by the former premier Imran Khan not to let Nawaz Sharif leave Pakistan, the court allowed Sharif to travel to London for medical treatment after his brother and now the prime minister Shehbaz Sharif had signed an undertaking which stated he would "ensure return" of his brother "within four weeks or on certification by doctors that he has regained his health and is fit to return back to Pakistan".

Initially, Khan was reluctant to let him go because Sharif had not even served 12 months of the 7-year prison sentence that was slapped on him for  corruption. He wanted him to sign a bond worth PKR 7.7 billion before allowing him to travel, but the Lahore High Court intervened and allowed Sharif to leave the country and Sharif left for Landon on November 19, 2019.

Nawaz Sharif prolonged his stay on the doctor’s advice and submitted all relevant papers to the court. In response, the Imran Khan government declared him an absconder and cancelled his Pakistani passport.

Once in London, the three time prime minister Sharif became the most formidable challenge for Imran Khan. Quite regularly, Nawaz Sharif took to social media to point out economic mismanagement, poor governance and sloppy foreign policy moves by the Khan-led government. Indeed, ordinary Pakistanis faced high inflation, a high unemployment rate, non-progressive taxes and energy crisis.

While in London, the three-time former prime minister Nawaz Sharif played an important role with former president Asif Ali Zardari and Maulana Fazlur Rehman to form the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), an alliance of 11 opposition political parties that have united to oust Khan from power.

In 2017, Nawaz Sharif had to resign after Pakistan’s National Accountability Bureau (NAB) opened a criminal trial based on the  Panama Papers revelations. Later Sharif was disqualified from office last year by the Supreme Court, which declared him “dishonest” for not disclosing a separate monthly income from a company owned by his son. It was then said that this was done on the behest of Pakistani army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa who wanted to clear the path for his favourite Imran Khan to become the prime minister.

After falling out with Imran Khan, Bajwa is in a reconciliation mode with Nawaz Sharif.

Interestingly, for Nawaz Sharif, it will be the third return from “exile”. The first was after the 1999 coup by General Parvez Musharraf , when he was allowed to go into exile in Saudi Arabia. He tried to return in 2007 to contest elections but he was arrested and deported to Saudi Arabia again within hours of arriving home from exile. After a few months, under a deal with the military establishment, he returned to Pakistan after getting the Presidential pardon but lost elections in 2008. After five years in 2013,  he was elected prime minister for the third time. His party swept  back to power in an election that gave its allies a solid National Assembly majority.

Also Read : Have Pakistan’s Army Generals struck a deal with Nawaz Sharif to replace Imran Khan?