ISLAMABAD: Contrary to recent assertions by former Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Khursheed Shah, a senior leader of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), has expressed skepticism regarding the anticipated return of Nawaz Sharif, the leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), to Pakistan in October. Shah cited Nawaz Sharif’s health-related concerns as a determining factor.
Shabazz Sharif unveiled a revised plan for his brother’s return to his country at a press conference in London on Friday. Along with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the three-time PML-N chief has revealed plans for Nawaz Sharif’s leadership upon his return in October 2023. However, a specific return date was not confirmed in this announcement.
Since his departure to London in November 2019 for medical treatment after his conviction in graft cases by an accountability court, Nawaz Sharif has resided there.
During an interaction with local media on Sunday, Khursheed Shah remarked that Nawaz Sharif does not appear to have immediate intentions of coming back to Pakistan due to his delicate health condition. Shah stated, “Given Nawaz Sharif’s current health status, it’s uncertain if he will make the journey.”
In response to a query, the PPP leader further elaborated, “Nawaz Sharif’s health could potentially deteriorate, especially as the time of return approaches.”
In 2016, Nawaz Sharif stepped down from his role as Prime Minister following a Supreme Court verdict that disqualified him for life due to the non-disclosure of assets. Subsequently, he was found guilty in the Al-Azizia and Aveinfeild Apartment cases initiated by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) following the Panama Papers leak.
Appeals against his convictions are presently awaiting adjudication in the relevant courts.
Earlier, sources within the Sharif family informed Geo News ahead of the meeting that Nawaz Sharif was considering a return to Pakistan on October 15 this year.
According to these sources, Nawaz Sharif, Shehbaz Sharif, and close family members in London discussed and agreed upon this date, signifying the PML-N leader’s potential homecoming in mid-October.
Earlier claims by PML-N leadership indicated a mid-September return for Nawaz Sharif. However, recent developments, including the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) declaration that elections cannot be held within 90 days, prompted a shift in plans.
While the ECP’s announcement was not the primary cause of delay, insiders revealed that party loyalists advised against a September return due to the intense heat and challenging conditions for large-scale political gatherings. Consequently, mid-October was deemed a more suitable timeframe for the return.
Shehbaz Sharif arrived in London last Sunday after handing over governmental responsibilities to Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar.
A reliable source conveyed, “The timing of Nawaz Sharif’s return is being influenced by considerations of weather severity. While further adjustments are possible, the current consensus is for the 15th of October to serve as the fixed date, with additional deliberations to follow.”