Ex-PM Nawaz Sharif may return to Pakistan next month, ending self-exile

Islamabad, Apr 26 (EFE).- Former Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif may return to the country in early May, ending a self-exile of two and half years in the United Kingdom, a spokesperson of his party said on Tuesday.

But the return of the former three-time prime minister depends on his health condition.

“Nawaz Sharif may return to Pakistan in May if his doctors allow him to travel,” Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz spokesperson Talal Chaudhry told EFE.

Sharif is the elder brother of incumbent Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, who took charge after Imran Khan lost power in a no-confidence vote early this month.

Pakistan High Commission in London issued an ordinary passport to Sharif after criticism against the Shehbaz Sharif’s government for allowing him to travel on a diplomatic passport.

“Yes, he has been granted a green passport and we don’t know when he plans to travel,” a diplomatic source at the mission told EFE, pleading anonymity.

Sharif was granted an eight-week bail on medical grounds in October 2019 and subsequently allowed to travel abroad for treatment for four weeks in November by then Prime Minister Khan.

He had given an undertaking he would return, but he did not.

The government of then Prime Minister Khan refused to renew his travel document after his diplomatic passport expired in February 2021, following his refusal to return despite the undertaking.

The UK Home Office rejected his visa extension application with the right to appeal against the decision in August last year.

Nawaz filed an appeal with the British Immigration Tribunal against the decision that provided him the opportunity to legally remain in the UK pending a decision on the plea.

Sharif was sentenced to 10 years in prison and fined £8 million ($10.6 million) in a money laundering case and for corruption related to his family’s purchase of upscale London flats in July 2018 after the Supreme Court removed him from power.

His daughter Maryam Nawaz Sharif was awarded seven years for abetting the crime, and son-in-law Safdar Awan was given a year in jail for not cooperating with the court.

Sharif was disqualified from holding any office of his center-right party, the PML-N.

His brother Shahbaz was elected as the president of the party.

The PMLN supremo was also sentenced to seven years in prison on corruption charges in another case by a Pakistani anti-corruption court in December 2018. Legal experts say Sharif will have to go to jail upon return as his bail has expired. However, he can apply for another bail.

Sharif has denied the charges against him. He said the country’s powerful security establishment had targeted him.

He openly criticized the army for allegedly supporting Khan coming to power in the 2018 general elections. The Pakistan Army said it had nothing to do with the politics. EFE


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