Nawaz is back

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Ishaq Dar also returns along with PM Abbasi from London * NA speaker says Nawaz Sharif to lead PML-N again

Nawaz Sharif left for Pakistan from the United Kingdom late on Sunday night.

Nawaz will travel on Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight PK-786, which is scheduled to land in Pakistan at 7am.

Sources said Nawaz had decided to return after his brother Punjab CM Shehbaz Sharif conveyed him a “special message”.

The former PM had left for London to accompany his wife Kulsoom Nawaz, who according to the Sharifs is being treated for lymphoma there. According to Maryam Safdar, Kulsoom recently underwent a third surgery in London and is reportedly recovering.

On Saturday, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi met Nawaz in London where the former told the latter that the success of their party Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) in the recent NA-120 by-election was a victory for democracy.

Abbasi met the former PM at the office of the latter’s son, Hassan Nawaz.

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and Nawaz’s other son Hussain Nawaz also attended the meeting.

Later, without elaborating further, Nawaz had told reporters that the situation in the country could be heading towards a “strange” direction.

A five-member Supreme Court bench had disqualified Nawaz from the PM’s office on July 28 for failing to declare a salary, which he had not withdrawn as an executive of Dubai-based company, as an asset when filing his nomination papers in 2013.

Speaking to newsmen before leaving for London’s Heathrow airport, he said they have not done any corruption in public funds.

“We have repeatedly said this is not a case of corruption or kickbacks. If it was about Panama Papers, then I should have been disqualified on same grounds, but we need to think over as to why I was sentenced over Iqama (employment contract).”

Sharif also questioned the references filed against him saying, “What kind of references are they? References are filed if someone has received kickbacks in giving contracts to people or done any corruption.”

He said things were revolving around their family business dating back to 1972.

“They announced the verdict; they were the ones to listen to our appeal and now they would also be supervising the [NAB] proceedings,” the former premier said.

“What kind of accountability and justice is this,” he questioned.

Maryam Safdar hailed her father in a tweet, stating, “It takes great amount of courage & valour to be willing to pay the price for challenging what needs to be changed.”

“It is not about his person anymore. It is the battle of 200 million (people),” she said further.

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar will be returning to Pakistan from London on Monday (today), Senator Mushahidullah Khan said on Sunday.

He said that he was unaware of whether the former premier will appear before the accountability court on Tuesday. However, sources said that he will appear before the accountability court on Tuesday.

The decision to return home was taken during a meeting held on Sunday with Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharif.

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Sunday said that Dar would be accompanying him back to the country.

Talking to media persons before his departure to Pakistan, Abbasi said that the finance minister would return to the country along with him.

Earlier this month, NAB had summoned the Sharifs to appear before the accountability court in corruption references.

On Sunday, National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq said he could not yet digest the Supreme Court’s verdict against the sacked prime minister.

Addressing a news conference in Lahore, the speaker said the former prime minister would soon return to Pakistan and head the PML-N. Back in July, a five-member Supreme Court bench disqualified Nawaz Sharif in a unanimous verdict in the Panamagate case, thus cutting short his third stint in power.