Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party supremo Nawaz Sharif and his brother Shehbaz Sharif are looking for ‘certain guarantees’ to be in place before Nawaz’s arrival to Pakistan next month, according to a media report on Thursday.
Shehbaz, who had returned to Lahore two days ago from London, is set to board a flight today to go back there and again meet his elder brother in person, the Dawn newspaper reported.
Nawaz, the 73-year-old three-time prime minister is expected to return to Pakistan on October 21 and lead the PML-N party in the next general election which will be held in the coming months.
“Will the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), the anti-corruption watchdog, oppose Nawaz’s protective bail in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills case … this remains to be seen when the party chief applies for it ahead of his planned return,” it said.
Quoting a party insider, the Dawn said, “The Sharifs are looking for ‘certain guarantees’ to be in place before Nawaz’s arrival.” The news that the Sharif brothers are looking for ‘certain guarantees’ assumes significance as the elder brother, who is set to return to Pakistan on October 21, would be facing the landmark Supreme Court ruling that restored the corruption cases against him.
On September 15, Pakistan’s Supreme Court scrapped the recent amendments to the country’s anti-graft laws and restored corruption cases against public office holders, including Nawaz Sharif, who was one of the major beneficiaries of the changes.
The apex court had announced its reserved decision on jailed former prime minister Imran Khan’s plea filed last year, challenging the amendments made to the accountability laws by the then government led by Shehbaz Sharif.
Shehbaz Sharif, 71, visited London earlier this month where the two brothers had held several discussions with each other during his trip, with other party members also dropping in. “In recent weeks, (party leaders) Mohammad Zubair, Abid Sher Ali and Khawaja Asif have all met Nawaz in London, and conveyed their messages surrounding the plan for Nawaz’s return,” the report said.
Sources told the newspaper that in order for his return to go smoothly, the elder Sharif needed to secure protective bail in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills case.
However, he would have to surrender before the court in the Al Azizia case, in which he was convicted for seven years and was serving his sentence at Kot Lakhpat Jail before he was allowed to leave the country on ‘medical grounds’ in 2019.
Under the reopened cases, Nawaz Sharif and Shehbaz Sharif will mainly have to contend with cases regarding the allotment of plots and the Ramzan Sugar Mills, respectively, the report said.
Shehbaz’s visit coincides with the London trip of party vice-president Maryam Nawaz, daughter of Nawaz Sharif, who is expected to land in London just before her uncle on a separate flight.
The newspaper quoted party insiders saying that the two brothers – Nawaz and Shehbaz – would hold an “important huddle” regarding the elder’s planned return to Pakistan. It added that there are “important discussions” that must take place “in person.” “Obviously it is something urgent that cannot be discussed over the phone,” the report quoted a party leader who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Separately, Dawn reported that a day after her father demanded ‘strict accountability’ of some former generals and judges for ousting him from power in 2017, PML-N chief organiser Maryam Nawaz on Wednesday played down his statement saying neither he nor she believed in taking revenge.
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