Pakistan

LONDON – Pakistan’s deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif will return to the country tomorrow (Wednesday) after staying for weeks in the United Kingdom where his wife is undergoing cancer treatment, according to local media reports.

Sharif, the three-time PM who is facing corruption and money laundering charges, will face the accountability court on Friday, his party (PML-N) sources told the Pakistani media.

His wife, Kulsoom Nawaz, has been receiving treatment in London for throat cancer.

Earlier on Tuesday the ex-PM, commenting on the debate surrounding the minus-Nawaz formula for PML-N, remarked that it is the decision of the nation and not individuals.

He said that “nation has the say on the decisions surrounding minus and plus formulas,” adding, “Individuals cannot take such decisions on their own.”

Shehbaz Next PM

Meanwhile, a high-level huddle of PML-N in London also decided that if victorious in next year’s general elections, the party’s prime ministerial candidate will be Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif.

Quoting sources, ARY News reported that Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif will run for a National Assembly seat in the next general elections.

It was decided in the meeting according to the TV channel that statements on party policy will now be given by the Sharif brothers and not their respective children – Maryam Nawaz and Hamza Shehbaz.

During the meeting, which reportedly lasted over three hours and was held at Nawaz’s son Hasan Nawaz’s office, Shehbaz and the prime minister attempted to convince Nawaz to avoid clashing with state institutions, especially so close to next year’s general elections.

Agreeing with the proposal, sources said Nawaz was of the opinion that one cannot be expected to stay quiet if an injustice has been meted out to them.

Moreover, PM Abbasi and Punjab CM Shehbaz have been directed to improve relations with state institutions and also place the PML-N’s grievances before them.

The ruling party has been reeling from reports of rifts within the ruling family and party over the leadership vacuum created in the aftermath of the July 28 disqualification verdict.

Panama Papers and Sharif Family

Nawaz Sharif stepped down on July 27 after the Supreme Court disqualified him from office in a case instigated by the “Panama Papers” leaks, related to alleged corruption during his previous two terms in office.

The five-member bench of the Supreme Court announced the verdict to a packed courtroom in capital Islamabad on the grounds that he lied about his assets during a corruption probe.

Shahid Khaqan Abbasi replaced him as the new prime minister.

Sharif and three of his children were referred to a National Accountability court, which was ordered to register corruption cases against them within six weeks.

The court also referred Ishaq Dar, the finance minister, who has served as Sharif’s accountant in the past, to the corruption court, along with other associates of Sharif.

Sharif’s ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party, which holds a comfortable majority in parliament, reelected him as the party president earlier this month.