Former Pakistan Prime Minister and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif landed at Islamabad airport as he returned to Pakistan after four years of exile in London. In a post on X, PML-N posted, “Umeed e Pakistan has landed in Islamabad Alhumdulillah. NAWAZ SHARIF IS BACK IN HIS HOMELAND.” The PML-N supremo’s legal team including former Law Minister Senator Azam Tarar and party leaders are present at the airport to receive him. Tarar said Nawaz would be consulted on political and legal issues upon his arrival. He confirmed that the court staff also reached the airport and now “the legal process of security guarantee will be completed.”
Sharif, arriving at the Dubai airport, said, “Today I am going to Pakistan after four years and I am feeling very happy…it would be great if the situation in Pakistan was better today than it was in 2017.”
Reacting strongly to the return of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif’s, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) said that the “coward fugitive” is returning under “judicial asylum”, on Saturday. A PTI spokesperson said in a statement that the “state has buried shame, modesty, law and justice with its own hands” to pave the way for “national criminal’s return” to the country from London. The three-time former PM returned to Pakistan on Saturday after ending a four-year self-imposed exile in London and is hoping to make a political comeback in the upcoming general elections expected to be held in the last week of January next year.
Nawaz’s last term—which began with a triumphant victory in 2013—was scarred by upheavals. It started with the then-opposition-led months-long blockade of Islamabad and ended with his disqualification by the Supreme Court in 2017. The court ruling followed months of hearings in a case instigated by the “Panama Papers” leaks, related to alleged corruption during his previous two terms in office. On 6 July 2018, Sharif was sentenced to 10 years in jail upon conviction in the Avenfield reference along with a fine of 8 million Euros (1.3 Pakistani Rupees).
The former PM was convicted in absentia as he was in London. On July 13, Nawaz and his daughter Maryam—currently PML-N’s Vice President and Chief Organiser—were arrested upon their arrival in Lahore from London. After approaching the Islamabad High Court, the Sharifs got major relief as the IHC ordered the release of Nawaz, Maryam and Captain Muhammad Safdar while temporarily suspending the sentences awarded to them.