Federal Minister and senior PML-N leader Javed Latif confirmed on Monday that PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif — after a long hiatus — will return to the country in September to represent “the people”.
In a press conference alongside party’s Punjab spokesperson Azma Bukhari, Latif said that the “doctors” have announced their decision and Nawaz will come back in line with their call.
“The doctors change their opinion with time. The people are his doctors; the nation has announced its decision that Nawaz Sharif should come back,” Latif said.
In 2018, an accountability court sentenced Nawaz to seven years in prison in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills corruption reference, while he was also sentenced to a total of 11 years in prison and slapped £8 million fine (Rs1.3 billion) in the Avenfield properties reference.
Subsequently, in 2019, the Lahore High Court (LHC) after suspending his sentence, allowed Nawaz to go abroad for medical treatment. He departed for London on November 19, 2019, and since then, he never returned to the country.
Latif’s statement comes after PTI Chairman Imran Khan, during his address to his party’s jalsa in Lahore, claimed that a conspiracy was being hatched to disqualify him in the Toshakhana and prohibited funding cases to pave the way for Nawaz’s return from London.
“They have made a new plan to register new cases and disqualify Imran Khan in Toshakhana and prohibited funding cases,” he said.
“Under the conspiracy, Nawaz will be brought back to the country by the end of September […] and a character assassination campaign will be launched to malign me.”
A timeline of Nawaz’s case
- On the night between October 21 and 22, 2019, Nawaz Sharif’s condition deteriorated and he was shifted to a hospital.
- On October 25, Nawaz Sharif was granted bail on medical grounds in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills case.
- On October 26, Nawaz Sharif was granted interim bail on humanitarian grounds in the Al-Azizia reference.
- On October 26, Nawaz Sharif suffered a mild heart attack, Punjab Health Minister Yasmeen Rashid confirmed the development.
- On October 29, Nawaz Sharif’s sentence was suspended for two months on medical grounds in the Al-Azizia reference.
- He was discharged from Nawaz Sharif Services Hospital and was shifted to Jati Umra.
- On November 8, Shahbaz Sharif requested the Interior Ministry to remove Nawaz Sharif’s name from the Exit Control List (ECL).
- On November 12, the federal cabinet gave Nawaz Sharif conditional permission to leave the country.
- On November 14, the PML-N challenged the condition of indemnity bond in the Lahore High Court.
- On November 16, the Lahore High Court allowed Nawaz Sharif to go abroad for medical treatment.
- On November 19, 2019, Nawaz Sharif left for London for his treatment.
Earlier in his press conference, Latif had castigated the PTI chairman, saying that “characters” like Khan have played their roles over the course of history.
“Quaid-e-Millat Liaquat Ali Khan was shot and to date, nobody knows who shot him; Madar-e-Millat Fatima Jinnah was declared a traitor and General Ayub Khan stole her elections; Nawaz Sharif was declared a highjacker and sentenced.”
He also took a jibe at former chief justice Saqib Nisar, saying that Khan alone isn’t the “criminal”, but the judge was also hands-in-gloves with him — as he gave him the certificate of “sadiq and amin”.
However, Latif noted that the PML-N always “respected” the judiciary.