Shehbaz returns home, hints at joining opposition's anti-government drive

Shehbaz returns home, hints at joining opposition's anti-government drive
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Shahbaz Sharif, brother of Pakistani former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, leaves for the airport in Lahore, Pakistan, on Friday, July 13, 2018. (AP/ File photo)
Shehbaz returns home, hints at joining opposition's anti-government drive
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In this file photo - Shehbaz Sharif, the younger brother of former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the head of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), shaking hand with party's supporters in June 2019 – (AFP / File)
Shehbaz returns home, hints at joining opposition's anti-government drive
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In this file photo, supporters of Shehbaz Sharif, brother of ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif, and leader of Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz use their mobile phones to take photos of him during a campaign rally ahead of general elections in the Lyari neighborhood in Karachi, Pakistan on June 26, 2018. ( REUTERS/FILE )
Updated 09 June 2019

Shehbaz returns home, hints at joining opposition's anti-government drive

Shehbaz returns home, hints at joining opposition's anti-government drive
  • PML-N leader was in London since April this year for medical treatment
  • Is scheduled to appear before an accountability court on June 13

LAHORE: Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly (NA) Shehbaz Sharif returned to Pakistan from London on Sunday, after an absence of nearly two months.
Shehbaz, who is also the president of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) was scheduled to return to Pakistan on Saturday, but a tweet posted by his son, Suleman Shehbaz, said that the senior Shehbaz had revised his schedule and was set to return today.
He flew on a PIA flight which landed at the Allama Iqbal International Airport at 4.50 am. The scenes at the airport were those of jubilation as PML-N leaders and representatives welcomed their leader with slogans and flowers, before driving him to his residence in Model Town.
Before leaving for Pakistan, Shehbaz had told reporters at the Heathrow airport that “baseless reports were blown out [of proportion] about his return to the country,” adding that he would be taking “legal action against those spreading false news.”
Shehbaz had left the country in the first week of April after he was granted bail in a criminal case and his name was removed from the country’s Exit Control List.
The move followed his arrest in the Ashiana Housing case on October 5, last year, after which he spent nearly four months in jail.
A few months later, while on a brief trip to London to visit his grandchildren, Shehbaz prolonged his stay there, citing medical reasons.
Prior to being given the approval to travel on Sunday, a team of doctors conducted his full medical checkup before declaring that he was medically fit.
Throwing the spotlight on his return, political pundits have said that it will help boost the morale of party workers, especially since the PML-N has announced a plan to protest against Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government after Eid-Al-Fitr.
“The PML-N has asked its workers to prepare for a protest against the government. Shehbaz’s return will certainly boost their morale,” Syed Shoiabud Din, a political analyst told Arab News.
The PML-N will be joined by other political parties in the protest, too. “Maulana Fazal Ur Rehman will summon the All Parties Conference (APC) of opposition forces. The decision will be taken at that forum and the PML-N will follow the decision taken there,” Senator Raja Zafrul Haq, the party chairman told Arab News.
Meanwhile, Shehbaz has called for a meeting of parliamentary leaders in the NA at his chamber on Monday, in addition to scheduling a meeting with his team of economic experts on June 12 in Islamabad. In comments made in London, he said that the PML-N will consult with the opposition parties first on the proposed plans for anti-government protests.
Meanwhile, he is due to appear before an accountability court in Lahore on June 13.
Commenting on his court appearance, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information, Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan tweeted that since “Shehbaz Sharif has no health issues’’, hopefully he would be able to appear in courts more “regularly.”
Shehbaz, for his part, has said that he’s ready to face all cases against him.