Pakistan's ex-PM Nawaz Sharif mulling political comeback after year-long gap

Sharif's decision to become active in politics coincided with the issuance of a non-bailable arrest warrant by the Islamabad High Court. He has been living in London since November 2019 after he was allowed to go abroad for four weeks for treatment

Press Trust of India September 20, 2020 00:35:29 IST
Pakistan's ex-PM Nawaz Sharif mulling political comeback after year-long gap

Islamabad: Pakistan's deposed premier Nawaz Sharif is set to make a comeback in active politics following a year-long absence after PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari invited him to virtually attend the Opposition-led multiparty conference aimed at launching a protest movement against the Imran Khan-led government on Sunday.

Sharif, 70, the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) supremo, has been living in London since November last year after the Lahore High Court granted him permission to go abroad for four weeks for treatment.

The three-time premier, his daughter Maryam and son-in-law Muhammad Safdar were convicted in the Avenfield properties case on 6 July, 2018.

Sharif, who was deposed in 2017, was also sentenced to seven years in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills case in December 2018. But, he was bailed out in both cases and also allowed to go to London for medical treatment.

He was given eight weeks to return but failed to come back due to health complications, according to his lawyer.

On Friday, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Zardari talked to Sharif over phone and invited him to virtually attend the Opposition-led All Parties Conference (APC) scheduled to be held on Sunday.

The APC will evolve a strategy to counter the government led by Prime Minister Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) which, they said, has failed to address issues like price hike and poverty.

Quoting sources, The Express Tribune reported that the meeting will decide to go for a street movement. He said that every party wanted to send the government led by Prime Minister Khan packing, adding that approaches might be different but this is exactly what all parties are attending the APC for — to agree on a unified approach.

"Just spoke to Mian Mohammad Nawaz Sharif. Enquired about his health. Also invited him to virtually attend opposition APC, hosted by PPP, on 20th September," Bilawal said in a tweet.

Maryam, who is Sharif's political heir, tweeted back to thank the PPP leader.

However, the PML-N has not officially confirmed his participation but party Senator Musadik Malik told Samaa TV that Sharif would attend virtually and also address the APC.

Maryam Nawaz will also attend, he said.

Dawn newspaper also reported that the former prime minister would attend the conference.

Sharif's participation in the high-profile political conference, to be attended by all the top leaders of the opposition parties, would help to reinvigorate his party as well as fuel up anti-government struggle by the Opposition.

Sharif's decision to become active in politics coincided with the issuance of a non-bailable arrest warrant by the Islamabad High Court (IHC).

Foreign Office spokesman has said that the warrant was sent to Pakistan's High Commission in London for compliance.

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