Pakistan’s ousted PM returns to face court cases

Author: M. IshtiaqFri, 2017-11-03 03:00ID: 1509651829640772300ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s deposed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif returned to Islamabad from London on Thursday morning. He will face corruption charges in the Accountability Court.
In July this year Pakistan’s Supreme Court removed Sharif from office after he failed to declare income from his son’s Dubai-based company.
Since his removal from office, Sharif has been trying to maintain his grip on his party. Last month, the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) re-elected him as chairman after a constitutional amendment was passed by Parliament where the PML-N enjoys a two-third majority. The vote confirmed his position despite his removal.
Nawaz Sharif had traveled to London where his wife, Kulsoom Nawaz, underwent surgery for throat cancer.
Soon after returning from London, Nawaz Sharif moved into the Government Guest House in Islamabad where he held meetings with senior members of his party and discussed the political situation, party affairs, and the charges against him.
According to the PML-N leadership, Nawaz Sharif will face the charges and that he is determined.
Minister of State for Interior Talal Chaudhry told reporters in Islamabad, “Nawaz Sharif is back in Pakistan, not only to face the court cases but to continue the politics.”
Last month an anti-corruption court indicted Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz, and her husband, Safdar Awan, but all three pleaded not guilty.
Before deciding to return to Islamabad, a high-level closed-door meeting was held in London between Nawaz Sharif, his younger brother Shahbaz Sharif, who is also the chief minister of Punjab, and Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. Party affairs and preparations for the next general elections due in 2018 were the primary focus of the consultative meeting.
Member of National Assembly, Rana Afzal, was among those who met Sharif after his arrival in Islamabad on Thursday morning.
Rana told Arab News, “In my meeting with ex-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, I found him very confident, very determined … but he wants all state institutions to work within their jurisdictions.”
While commenting on the London meeting, Rana added, “The party is very clear that in case of any restriction on Nawaz Sharif’s political activities, his younger brother Shahbaz Sharif will lead the party.”
“There is no doubt in the party… Shahbaz Sharif performed very well in Punjab as chief minister.”
Though it was not officially stated, there are some party stalwarts, including former Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, who want Shahbaz Sharif — a more suitable choice — as new party chief. In a recent press conferences, Khan was not shy in rejecting the notion of Sharif’s daughter heading the party.
Maryam Nawaz was recently perceived as her father’s political heir after she played a proactive role and ran her ailing mother’s election campaign while other members of her family were mostly absent from the scene. This led to speculations of rifts within the Sharif family, which she rejected in her recent statements as “exaggerated.”
Political analyst Khadim Hussian told Arab News, “To unite the party is still a major challenge for Nawaz Sharif.”
Amid court cases, the political future of Nawaz Sharif, who leads one of Pakistan’s most powerful families and the ruling PML-N party, has been hanging in the balance.
There is a possibility that he will be jailed. Nawaz Sharif and his family members allege that the cases are all politically motivated.
Main category: WorldTags: PakistanNawaz SharifIslamabadKulsoom NawazPakistan Muslim League-NawazPML-Nrelated_nodes: Pakistan PM hits out at ‘slandering’ of his family over wealthSharif formally steps down as Pakistan’s PMPakistan lets deposed PM travel abroad despite corruption charges

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