Nawaz Sharif Returns to Pakistan: Ex-PAK PM Arrives Home folllowing 4 Years of Exile in UK

PAKISTAN: Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan’s three-time prime minister, returned to the country after years of self-imposed exile. After being granted bail from a seven-year prison sentence, he left Pakistan for London in an air ambulance in late 2019. Despite his longest tenure, Sharif has never completed any of his terms due to conflicts with the military and corruption accusations.

Sharif, who has returned from a political hiatus, is set to attend a large event in Lahore, Pakistan’s political hub. The event will highlight the significant changes in Sharif’s life and the political landscape.

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Sharif’s party sees his return as vindication, claiming that his past criminal convictions were motivated by politics and based on fabricated evidence.The popularity of his Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) will be determined by the Lahore rally outcome.

The buildup to the postponed national elections has been overshadowed by Imran Khan’s popularity, a former cricketer who was ousted from government in 2022 by a parliamentary vote of no confidence. His party’s tense relations with the armed forces have exacerbated the situation. Khan accuses the US and Pakistani generals of working together to remove him, but both deny this claim.

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Surveys indicate that Sharif’s political party’s appeal may be declining, and the party needs his leadership. However, Khan has the highest approval rating among prominent politicians, with a June Gallup Pakistan poll showing his approval at 60%. The party faces a sombre national sentiment due to economic decline, soaring prices, and International Monetary Fund loan requirements.

Pakistan’s currency hit a record low against the US dollar in September but has since recovered. In May, the annual inflation rate reached 38%. A prominent member of Sharif’s party, Daniyal Aziz, believes inflation negatively affects political chances and hopes Sharif can convince voters to improve economic conditions.

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Between 2013 and 2017, Sharif’s tenure as PM saw a stable economic conditions and completed significant infrastructure projects.

Khurram Dastgir Khan, a senior party leader, believes Nawaz Sharif’s return guarantees elections and a chance for him to become prime minister. He dismisses Imran Khan’s popularity and believes PML-N has strong support in Punjab, a crucial province for power consolidation.

The Sharif political family has faced corruption accusations and criticism for its closed-off approach.

In 2017, Sharif resigned as prime minister due to corruption charges. His family became embroiled in the Panama Papers controversy. Khan won the 2018 election but faces armed forces due to defecting officials and is facing arrest. Khan has been in custody since August 5 and is dealing with legal matters.

Pakistan’s People’s Party, led by Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, has speculated that the election may be postponed to allow for Sharif’s return. The election was initially planned for November.

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Originally posted 2023-10-21 10:30:27.