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Monday, May 27, 2024

Events leading to the exile and return of Pakistan’s Nawaz Sharif

Sharif, 73, first became prime minister in 1990. He was ousted in a 1999 coup, ending a second stint as prime minister, and went into self-imposed exile until 2007.

Pakistan’s three-time prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, is due to return home on Saturday after four years of self-imposed exile in London, his lawyer and party said.

Sharif, 73, first became prime minister in 1990. He was ousted in a 1999 coup, ending a second stint as prime minister, and went into self-imposed exile until 2007.

Here is a timeline of events leading to his latest years of exile and his return.

Read more: Protective Bail Applications For Nawaz Sharif Filed Ahead of Comeback

April 2016: Millions of documents from a Panamanian law firm are leaked to the media. Some of the so-called Panama Papers show the involvement of Sharif’s family in offshore companies that hold properties in London. Sharif, who became prime minister for a third time after winning a 2013 election, denies wrongdoing but a case against him is filed in Pakistan by his main rival, cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan.

July 28, 2017: The Supreme Court disqualifies Sharif from the prime minister’s office, declaring him dishonest for not disclosing income from a company owned by his son. Sharif, who had fallen out with the powerful military over policy differences, including ties with India, resigns from office the same day. He soon leaves for London to tend to his wife who was receiving medical treatment there.

April 13, 2018: The Supreme Court imposes a lifetime ban on Sharif from taking part in politics or holding any public office in a first-of-its-kind decision.

Read more: Caretaker PM Denies Deal Over Nawaz Sharif’s Return

July 5, 2018: An anti-graft court sentences Sharif in absentia to 10 years in prison. He and his daughter, Maryam Nawaz, seen by supporters as his political heir, are convicted after failing to prove the source of income used to buy properties in London in the 1990s.

July 12, 2018: Nawaz and his daughter fly back to the city of Lahore, their hometown and political stronghold, and are arrested at the airport and sent to jail.

July 25, 2018: Sharif’s main rival, Imran Khan, wins a general election. The conservative Khan, political analysts say, is favored by the military to lead a civilian government. Both Khan and the military deny that.

Dec. 24, 2018: Sharif is convicted in another graft case and sentenced to seven years in prison and fined $25 million. He said the charges, linked to the ownership of a steel mill in Saudi Arabia, were politically motivated.

Nov. 19, 2019: Sharif flies to London after a court allows him to leave for medical treatment, on condition he returns when fit. He does not return.

April 10, 2022: Khan is ousted as prime minister in a parliamentary vote of no-confidence after differences with the military over security appointments. Sharif’s younger brother, Shehbaz Sharif, becomes prime minister.

May 9, 2023: The anti-corruption agency arrests Khan sparking violent protests by his supporters and months of tension between him and the military, compounding worries about nuclear-armed Pakistan as it grapples with record inflation.

Aug. 9, 2023: Shehbaz Sharif’s government completes its tenure and hands over power to a caretaker administration that will oversee a general election.

Sept. 21, 2023: The election commission announces it will be ready to hold a general election by the end of January 2024.

Oct. 19, 2023 — A court bars authorities from arresting Sharif upon his return and his lawyer says he intends to appeal against his convictions. His party has said he would contest a seat in the general election if his convictions are over-turned.