Nawaz Sharif will return to Pakistan next month: PM

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is speaking in the interview with Geo News Hamid Mir in this still taken on August 10, 2023. — YouTube/GeoNews
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is speaking in the interview with Geo News’ Hamid Mir in this still taken on August 10, 2023. — YouTube/GeoNews
  • Will travel to London to meet elder brother Nawaz: PM Shehbaz.
  • “He [Nawaz] will neither wear a hat nor a bucket,” says premier.
  • Says ECP responsible for holding timely elections in the country.

In a major development as the nation is heading towards general elections, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said on Thursday that Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif will return to the country next month and face the law.

In an interview with Geo News’ Capital Talk programme host Hamid Mir, the outgoing premier said he will travel to London to meet his elder brother Nawaz as soon as the caretaker government took charge.

“Nawaz Sharif will come to Pakistan next month and will face the law and lead the election campaign,” the incumbent prime minister said without giving the exact date of Nawaz’s homecoming who has been in self-imposed exile in London since November 2019 owing to health reasons.

Nawaz went to London in November 2019 for medical treatment after he was convicted by an accountability court in graft cases and he has been living there since then.

In 2016, Nawaz stepped down as the prime minister after the Supreme Court disqualified him for life for concealing assets.

Later, the PML-N supremo was convicted in the Al-Azizia and the Aveinfeild Apartment references filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) which emerged in the aftermath of Panama Papers leak.

His appeals against the conviction are currently pending in the relevant courts.

“He [Nawaz] will neither wear a hat nor a bucket,” PM Shehbaz said in today’s interview while taking a thinly veiled jibe at Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan who dons bulletproof helmet while appearing for court hearings.

The PM also hoped that his party will win the next elections and he will work as an activist of the party under Nawaz-led government.

His statement comes as the process to appoint caretaker setup formally kicked off with the dissolution of the National Assembly prematurely a day earlier on August 9.

The Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), the multi-party alliance, decided to dissolve the assembly three days ahead of its constitutional completion to allow the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to hold general elections in the country within 90 days instead of 60 days stipulated time period if legislature completes its term.

However, the general elections in the country are likely to be delayed as the Council of Common Interests (CCI) approved the 2023 census, requiring Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to carry out fresh delimitation — an exercise likely to take three to four months.

Caretaker PM

Speaking about his meeting with NA Opposition Leader Raja Riaz to deliberate on the interim PM name, the PM said: “It is hoped that the name of caretaker prime minister will be agreed upon before three days.”

Under the Constitution, the PM and the opposition leader have three days to finalise the caretaker PM name. In the first round of consultation earlier today, they failed to reach a consensus on the caretaker PM name.

“It has been decided that another round of consultation will be held tomorrow (Friday). Till a name is not finalised no name will be revealed,” said the NA opposition leader following the meeting. 

His statement indicated that both sides are keeping cards close to their chest. However, Riaz did confirm that he had shared the names of his candidates with the premier, hoping that things will clear out tomorrow.

“I will meet [NA opposition leader] again tomorrow to hold consultation on the name of caretaker prime minister,” the PM added.

PM Shehbaz said he will also consult his brother Nawaz regarding the appointment of caretaker prime minister.

Amid concerns that polls might be delayed, PM Shehbaz said general elections should be held as soon as possible, adding that the ECP is responsible for holding elections in the country, not the caretaker setup.


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