Former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will return to Pakistan on October 21, ending his four-year self-imposed exile in London. His comeback is anticipated as he prepares to lead the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party in the upcoming elections, likely to take place in January 2024. Caretaker Information Minister Murtaza Solangi made this announcement and clarified that Nawaz Sharif’s return would be governed by the law of the land.
Nawaz Sharif, a three-time former prime minister of Pakistan and leader of a prominent political party, left the country after receiving permission from the court and the former government, following his imprisonment in Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat jail in the Al-Azizia Mills case. The Lahore High Court granted him permission to travel abroad for medical treatment in 2019.
Solangi emphasized that Nawaz Sharif’s departure from Pakistan was not a result of a jailbreak but occurred within the boundaries set by the legal system and government authorities. The question of whether Nawaz Sharif would seek protective bail or address the court upon his return remains unanswered, pending his decision or guidance from the country’s legal and constitutional frameworks.
Nawaz Sharif faced a significant legal setback in 2017 when he was disqualified for life from holding public office by the Supreme Court due to his failure to declare a receivable salary. Since then, he has been residing in London, facing multiple legal cases, including his status as a proclaimed offender in the Toshakhana vehicles case and allegations of acquiring luxury cars from the treasury house at a fraction of their actual cost. Additionally, he was convicted in the Al-Azizia Mills and Avenfield corruption cases in 2018.
The upcoming elections in Pakistan will be conducted by the Election Commission of Pakistan, tasked with ensuring free, fair, transparent, and impartial elections as mandated by Article 218(3) of the Constitution. The caretaker government has committed to playing its full role in facilitating such elections. Delimitation of constituencies is set to be completed by November 30, with the final election date to be announced thereafter. As the nation awaits Nawaz Sharif’s return, the political landscape in Pakistan is expected to witness significant developments in the coming months.