Return of Nawaz is a mystery or a delay tactic?

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ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s arrival to Pakistan remains shrouded in mystery, despite there being reports that he will return on Wednesday (yesterday). The ruling camp is still sending mixed signals related to Nawaz’s exact date and city of arrival.

Leaders from the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) seemed clueless about the details and were reluctant to formally comment on the matter. According to reports, Nawaz was to land in Islamabad from Jeddah on October 25, so that he could appear before the accountability court today (October 26), in relation to the references filed against him in the Panamagate case.

The party members offered information ranging from, ‘he can land in Lahore at any time on Wednesday’ to he went to London from Jeddah to visit his ailing wife, Kulsoom Nawaz.

However, Nawaz’s flight details, which surfaced on Wednesday, reveal that he will be travelling from the London Heathrow Airport on January 6, 2018 and will land in Lahore at the Allama Iqbal International Airport on January 7.

Nawaz was initially supposed to land in Lahore on Sunday (October 21) but he landed in Jeddah on Monday (October 22) to perform an Umrah. This impromptu Umrah plan triggered speculations that the ousted premier has gone to seek help from the Saudi royals for the political turmoil he is in. After the Umrah, Nawaz was scheduled to land in Pakistan on Tuesday.

It was also learnt that the PML-N president was opting to land in Islamabad instead of Lahore, owing to the differences between Nawaz and his younger brother, Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif. According to sources in the PML-N, Nawaz only considered coming to Lahore after a meeting between Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Shehbaz, where the premier spoke about the brothers settling their differences. Reportedly Abbasi also asked Shehbaz to receive the former premier at the Lahore airport, to further pacify the situation.

However, till this report was filed on Wednesday night, there was no confirmation as to when Nawaz is actually coming back and where.

PML-N’s internal rift was also discussed during a meeting of the federal cabinet – chaired by Abbasi – on Wednesday, but there was no official word on the subject, even in the press release issued from the prime minister house.

The rift was supposedly cause by Nawaz ignoring Shehbaz’s advice on key issues related to the Panamagate case, while after Nawaz’s disqualification, the younger Sharif was not considered as acting premier, aggravating an already tense situation between the brothers.

The former prime minister is also expected to hold important meetings with his legal and political aides to formulate a strategy for the accountability court hearing. Nawaz, his sons, daughter and son-in-law, have all been indicted by the court and the ruling party is trying to do everything to avoid conviction.

The PML-N chief is also likely to review the report of change in the clause of Khatm-e-Nabuwwat (finality of prophethood –S.A.W) present in the previous draft of Election Bill 2017. The three-member committee, set up by Nawaz, under PML-N chairperson Raja Zafarul Haq, has found a senior cabinet member responsible for the change in the clause. It is further reported that Nawaz will take action on the matter as he deemed fit. The other two members on the panel are Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal and Climate Change Minister Mushahidullah Khan.

Posted by Express Tribune

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