The district administration of Lahore has granted permission to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) to hold a public meeting at Greater Iqbal Park on October 21. This rally marks the return of the party’s leader, Nawaz Sharif, to Pakistan after almost four years of self-imposed exile in London. Nawaz Sharif is expected to deliver his maiden speech upon his arrival in Pakistan.
The three-time former prime minister left Pakistan in November 2019 for medical treatment for multiple ailments, following permission granted by the Lahore High Court. In light of his return, the district administration has communicated the terms and conditions for the rally to the PML-N. The party has also been directed to seek separate permission from the Parks and Horticulture Authority (PHA) Karachi in advance of the event.
To ensure the responsible use of Greater Iqbal Park for the rally, the PML-N has submitted an affidavit, pledging to cover any damage or costs associated with the event. The district administration will maintain close contact with relevant authorities to address matters related to security, traffic flow, and rally organization. A comprehensive traffic plan and advisory will soon be issued to minimize inconvenience to the public.
Nawaz Sharif’s return to Pakistan has been marked with anticipation, as he plans to address a gathering at Minar-e-Pakistan on October 21. This speech is expected to outline the party’s agenda in preparation for the upcoming elections.
Notably, Nawaz Sharif stepped down as the country’s prime minister in 2017 after being disqualified for life by the Supreme Court for not declaring a receivable salary. His return brings up questions of legal procedures and potential consequences.
According to PML-N senior leader Ishaq Dar, there is no immediate threat of Nawaz’s arrest upon returning to Pakistan. It is expected that transit bail and protective bail will be sought through the court, following standard legal procedures. Dar emphasized that the PML-N’s narrative will center on economic recovery, emphasizing it as the path to national revival.
Nawaz Sharif returns to Pakistan with the status of a convicted criminal, having been sentenced in two graft cases. To resume his legal battle, he will need to file appeals to have the sentences suspended upon his return. However, the process is not straightforward, as he will need to address his status as an absconder and navigate the legal terrain once again.
The flight carrying Nawaz Sharif to Pakistan has been named “Umeed-e-Pakistan” and can accommodate approximately 150 passengers. It will land in Islamabad from Dubai before proceeding to Lahore, where Nawaz will address the gathering organized by his party.
The legal debate surrounding Nawaz Sharif’s return is nuanced. Some legal experts believe that being an absconder, he may not receive any relief without facing the possibility of imprisonment. Others suggest that surrendering voluntarily before the court offers a chance to address the legal proceedings effectively.
Nawaz Sharif will face challenges in having his sentences in two National Accountability Bureau (NAB) cases suspended upon his return. He will also need to address the legal option for protection from arrest as he navigates the complex legal landscape.
In light of these developments, Nawaz Sharif’s return to Pakistan is a highly anticipated event with significant legal and political implications.