ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif returned to country early Monday morning as the ex-premier once again questioned his disqualification by the Supreme Court.
Sharif, who was in London on account of his wife’s treatment for cancer, decided to immediately return to country. Reports previously suggested the former premier would stay in London until complete recovery of his wife.
Confirming Sharif’s return to country, PML-N spokesman Mushahidullah Khan said that Nawaz Sharif is the most popular leader in the country.
“He is the leader of PML-N and the people of Pakistan and is returning to country to play the very role,” Mushahidullah said, adding that opponents’ claims that Nawaz would now be working from London have proven wrong.
Sources said that Sharif made the decision following a consultation meeting with PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Punjab CM Shehbaz Sharif in London.
They said the former PM wanted to appear before the accountability court to face references filed against him by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).
NAB has filed three references against Nawaz Sharif and his children, pertaining to which an accountability court summoned them on September 19. However, Sharifs failed to appear before the court.
At this, NAB moved the court to issue arrest warrants for the former prime minister, but the court rejected NAB’s request and again issued summons for Sharifs to appear on 26 September.
Sharif will appear before the accountability court on September 26, sources said, where he would present his stance on the references filed against him. They said the former premier will appear before the court without his lawyers and will represent himself in the case.
After no-show, NAB court again summons Sharif family on Sept 26
According to sources, the former prime minister has been advised by his lawyers to appear before the accountability court and seek exemption in cases against him.
However, other members of his family will be staying away from court proceedings, sources said. The ex-premier is returning with his staff, while his children, Hasan, Hussain and Maryam, will be staying with their mother in London.
Upon reaching the country, Sharif will reportedly hold a high-level party meeting to decide on future strategy and establishing contacts with rest of the political parties.
Sharif questions his disqualification over Iqama
Speaking to newsmen before leaving for London’s Heathrow airport, the ex-prime minister said they have not done any corruption in public funds.
“We have repeatedly said this is not a case of corruption or kickbacks. If it was about Panama Papers, then I should have been disqualified on same grounds, but we need to think over as to why was I sentenced over Iqama (employment contract).”
Sharif also questioned the references filed against him saying, “What kind of references are they? References are filed if someone has received kickbacks in giving contracts to people or done any corruption.”
Disqualified by SC, Nawaz Sharif steps down as prime minister
He said things were revolving around their family business dating back to 1972.
“They announced the verdict; they were the ones to listen to our appeal and now they would also be supervising the [NAB] proceedings,” the former premier said.
“What kind of accountability and justice is this,” he questioned.
Asked about his decision to immediately return to country, Sharif said he did not intend to stay there for long and not to return home.
‘Battle of 200 million people’
Maryam Nawaz, Sharif’s daughter, hailed her father in a tweet stating, “It takes great amount of courage & valour to be willing to pay the price for challenging what needs to be changed.”
“It is not about his person anymore. It is the battle of 200 million (people),” she said further.
‘Nawaz, Shehbaz fail to agree on political issues’
Nawaz Sharif and his brother, Shehbaz Sharif, failed to agree on any political issue during the meeting in London, sources informed.
Sources said that Shehbaz reached London to speak to the former premier about a complete agenda. But the Punjab CM failed to convince his elder brother.
Shehbaz was even unaware of Nawaz’s decision to return to Pakistan, sources said.
The Punjab CM is expected to return to country sometime between September 28 to 30.