Newly-elected prime minister of Pakistan Shehbaz Sharif ordered that his elder brother former prime minister Nawaz Sharif be issued a diplomatic passport so that he can return to his home country, Pakistan media outlets reported.
People familiar with the developments have said that Nawaz Sharif might return to Islamabad after Eid. He is currently in London seeking treatment for his ailments and faces corruption charges in Pakistan. It is likely that he will be jailed on his return to Islamabad.
The former prime minister faces charges for forging documents to obscure ownership of offshore companies used to buy real estate properties in London and the UK. The Pakistan Supreme Court initiated the proceedings after the details of these charges were leaked during the Panama Papers investigation.
The timing of the announcement is worth noting. Earlier, news agency Dawn reported that Shehbaz Sharif is yet to appoint his cabinet and said that the coalition is of fragile nature. He said that if all parties are not made part of the cabinet it will send a wrong signal to the people of Pakistan. According to report, Bilawal Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) is hesitant to join the cabinet ranks and said that they will support the government from outside.
Nawaz Sharif, undoubtedly, is behind the scenes. Before the events leading to the no-confidence motion, people familiar with the developments told CNN-News18 that the establishment aka Pakistan’s deep state, Pakistan Army and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) indirectly nudged to the Sharifs that the senior Sharif should return to Pakistan as the nation needed him.
The Avenfield properties and Al-Azizia Steel Mills case continues to haunt Nawaz Sharif but his arrival ahead of cabinet appointment leads to speculations that he could play a major role backstage while his younger brother leads the charge. Nawaz Sharif has been in London, UK, since November 2019 after the Lahore High Court granted him permission to go abroad for four weeks for medical treatment. He faces up to seven years imprisonment in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills corruption case and 10 years in prison for owning assets beyond known sources of income and one year for not cooperating with the investigation of the Avenfield case. All sentences will run concurrently.
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