Pakistan’s ex-PM Nawaz Sharif returns home after 4-year exile

Islamabad, Oct 21 (EFE).- Pakistan’s former three-time prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, returned home on Saturday after a four-year of self-imposed exile in the United Kingdom.

The Pakistan Muslim League-N leader landed at Islamabad International Airport from Dubai on a chartered FlyDubai flight.

Sharif traveled to the UK in 2019 for medical treatment after being convicted in corruption cases. He promised the court that, subject to his health conditions, he would return within four weeks.

His return coincides with Pakistan heading into general elections scheduled for January.

“I am going to Pakistan after four years and feeling very happy,” Sharif told reporters at a Dubai airport lounge.

He said he was “restless too over the current (economic) situation in Pakistan.”

Pakistan is grappling with one of the worst economic crises in its history, marked by high inflation and depleting foreign reserves.

After arriving in Islamabad, Sharif will fly to Lahore, the stronghold of his party, to address a welcoming rally at the historic Minar-e-Pakistan ground.

The Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) expects a gathering of over a million supporters to welcome their leader.

In July 2017, Sharif was disqualified by the country’s Supreme Court over misconduct, and further investigation into corruption allegations against him, stemming from the Panama Papers leaked in 2016, was ordered.

In 2018, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison and fined $10.6 million in a money laundering and corruption case related to his family’s acquisition of upscale Avenfield flats in London.

The conviction led to his removal from office. He received an additional seven-year prison sentence in a separate corruption case.

He was also disqualified for life from participating in electoral politics and holding any public office within his center-right PML-N.

However, the disqualification period was later reduced to five years through a parliamentary act during the tenure of his younger brother, Shehbaz Sharif, in June.

In anticipation of his return to Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif was granted protective bail by the Islamabad High Court earlier this week.

He is expected to appear before court on Tuesday when his bail expires. His lawyers have said he will face court proceedings related to the corruption cases. EFE


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