LONDON: Speculations have emerged that Nawaz Sharif, leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), will be making his return to Pakistan on October 15. These discussions came about in light of conversations held with close family members, including his brother, Shehbaz Sharif, in the UK capital.
An initial report hinted at a September return for Nawaz. However, recent developments, including a statement from the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on the unfeasibility of elections within the next 90 days, seemed to have influenced the timeline.
Despite these updates, insider sources refute the claim that ECP’s announcement played a role in the rescheduling. Instead, the change has been attributed to suggestions from PML-N supporters. The belief is that the scorching September climate isn’t conducive for grand political events, making October a more favorable time for Nawaz’s comeback.
In fact, Shehbaz Sharif, after transferring his duties to Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar, flew to London to discuss the matter with Nawaz. An insider shared, “Weather conditions have heavily factored into determining Nawaz Sharif’s return. Although the date stands at October 15 for now, we may witness more discussions around this.”
Post his visits to Europe and the Middle East, Nawaz landed in London three weeks ago. The end of this trip marked a period of three months. While many in his circle suggested an immediate return to Pakistan, some have urged a delay, at least until the retirement of the current Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP), Umar Atta Bandial. This recommendation stems from the PML-N’s reservations about CJP Bandial, who they believe has shown undue favoritism to Imran Khan and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI).
Only a couple of days ago, Nawaz voiced strong criticism against CJP Bandial and other members of the judiciary, blaming them for his removal from power back in 2017. He pointed fingers at several figures, including former CJP Saqib Nisar and Justice Ijazul Ahsan, alleging bias and mistreatment.
Further criticisms were directed at the judiciary’s handling of PTI chairman Imran Khan’s legal affairs. Nawaz questioned their role in facilitating Khan while simultaneously impeding him and his family. He specifically highlighted the case of CJP Bandial and Justice Mazahir Ali Naqvi’s involvement in Khan’s Toshakhana corruption allegations.
Nawaz’s journey to London in November 2019 was under grave circumstances. The three-time prime minister was battling a severe immune system disorder. Despite receiving the best medical care in Pakistan, his health was deteriorating, which led to recommendations for overseas treatment. This led him to seek medical assistance in esteemed institutions like the Harley Street Clinic and London Bridge Hospital.
As Nawaz prepares for his return, Pakistan watches with bated breath, eager to see what the political landscape will hold upon his arrival.