Heated debate erupts in Pakistan over former PM Nawaz Sharif’s possible return

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Nawaz Sharif leaves Lahore Hight Court. File

Tariq Butt, Correspondent

Intense speculation and public debate has hit the political landscape about the possible return of deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif to Pakistan from London, where he has been for more than two years.

Sharif himself has told a visitor that he will see him in Pakistan very soon.

A number of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leaders have also talked about Sharif’s return in January.

However, PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif has said that Nawaz Sharif will not return until his full recovery. In a statement, he said Nawaz Sharif could legally stay in the United Kingdom until his appeal against the British Home Office’s refusal to extend his visa was decided by the immigration tribunal.

The British Home Office has rejected Nawaz Sharif’s application for extension in visa. The appeal for visa extension has been filed with the British immigration tribunal. The request for extension in stay was filed with the UK home department on medical grounds on the advice of Nawaz Sharif’s doctors.

Shahbaz Sharif said the government had allowed his brother to leave Pakistan for treatment based on the reports of the government’s own medical board. “It is inhuman to do politics on the health of a three-time premier. The government machinery is bent upon defaming Nawaz Sharif for its politics, which is earning a bad name to the country.”

He said Nawaz Sharif will only return to Pakistan after full recovery and doctors in London allowed him to travel back home.

Meanwhile, PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz, in a tweet, said the visa issue had again proved how her father was on the nerves of the present government members. “This fake government has accepted its defeat from Nawaz Sharif who is the present and future of Pakistan. By targeting a towering personality, the stature of a pygmy cannot be elevated.”

PML-N Information Secretary Marriyum Aurangzeb said it was a routine procedure for anyone seeking extension in their stay in the UK and Nawaz Sharif had the right to an appeal in the immigration tribunal.”

Meanwhile, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry said those waiting for a deal on his return to the country would remain political dwarfs.

In a tweet, he reacted to reports about possible return of Nawaz Sharif and charged that the PML-N leadership is bending backwards to seek Establishment’s help for concessions for Nawaz Sharif but they are not being entertained. He said “those in PM-LN were standing with ‘boot polish’ but nobody was putting their boots forward. You are a dark chapter in Pakistan’s history. Darkness vanishes when light spreads and the same has happened in Pakistan.”



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