Former Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif arrived in London on Sunday. The visit follows the culmination of Shehbaz Sharif’s 16-month tenure in government earlier this month.
Accompanied by his son Salman Shehbaz, the visit is set to revolve around crucial discussions concerning the party’s upcoming election campaign and the potential return of PML-N’s leader, Nawaz Sharif.
These discussions are poised to involve prominent party figures who have converged in London for these consequential talks. The primary objectives of these meetings include devising a strategic blueprint for the impending elections and addressing the legal challenges impeding Nawaz Sharif’s reentry into Pakistan.
Sources within the PML-N have indicated that the party’s legal team will also be present to navigate the intricate legal intricacies associated with Nawaz Sharif’s return. The former prime minister’s self-imposed exile in London since November 2019, citing health reasons, has been a focal point of public discourse. Legal hurdles stemming from corruption cases, including those originating from the Panama Papers leak, have been central to this matter.
During an interview on August 9, Shehbaz Sharif confidently declared that Nawaz Sharif would be making his way back to Pakistan in September. He emphasized that Nawaz would not shy away from legal proceedings and would play a pivotal role in spearheading the party’s election campaign. The exact date of Nawaz Sharif’s return remains undisclosed, but the conviction in Shehbaz Sharif’s tone about his elder brother’s commitment to the cause was evident.
Nawaz Sharif’s departure to London in 2019 for medical treatment, subsequent to his conviction by an accountability court on corruption charges, marked a turning point in his political trajectory. Remaining abroad due to ongoing legal battles, his resignation as prime minister in 2016 following the Supreme Court’s verdict on concealing assets further shaped the narrative of his absence from domestic politics. Convictions in the Al-Azizia and Aveinfeild Apartment cases further complicated the situation.
A recent verdict by a three-member bench of the Supreme Court, declaring the Supreme Court (Review of Judgments and Orders) Act 2023 as “unconstitutional,” has cast shadows over the hopes of both Nawaz Sharif and Jahangir Tareen to challenge their lifetime disqualifications. The disqualifications were enforced under Article 62 of the Constitution, prompting questions about their political aspirations in light of the upcoming general elections.