Nawaz’s return: consensus eludes PML-N


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LAHORE: The PML-N leaders on Tuesday were unable to reach an agreement on the return of party supremo and former premier Nawaz Sharif to Pakistan.

A consultative meeting of the party leaders was held, presided over by PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif, to discuss the country’s political situation, upcoming general elections and Nawaz’s return home.

According to sources, some of the PML-N leaders participating in the meeting suggested that Nawaz should return to the country by September.

Others proposed that the party supremo should return by October.

They were of the view that the process of Nawaz’s return to the country and facing the law could politically benefit the party.

Some party leaders also took the position that the cases against Nawaz were framed on the basis of prejudice and he was handed down “unfair” sentences.

They added that Nawaz should return only after eliminating the obstacles in his way.

The leaders continued that the party supremo wanted to come back to the country and face the law but they did not want to take any risk on his return.

The party insiders said Shehbaz was also acquiring final suggestions from political and legal experts about Nawaz’s return to the country.

In the next few days, the party president will meet Nawaz in London and hold final consultations with him about the latter’s possible return plan.

The insiders added that after the final deliberations between the two brothers in London, Nawaz would announce his return to the country at a crowded news conference.

Senior PML-N leader and former defence minister Khawaja Asif said Nawaz would not return to Pakistan until the risk was over.

A senior party leader had told Daily City News least year that a mass-contact campaign was the need of the hour for the PML-N in the present situation but to reinvigorate its support base, Nawaz would have to lead from the front.

He added that PML-N Senior Vice President Maryam Nawaz was indeed very popular in the party’s support base but she was still no match for Nawaz, who had thrice led the party to form the government.

Nawaz has been living in self-imposed exile in the UK since November 2019. He was convicted in the Al-Azizia Mills and Avenfield corruption cases in 2018.

He was serving a seven-year imprisonment at Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat jail in the Al-Azizia Mills case before he was allowed to proceed to London in 2019 on “medical grounds”.

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