Nawaz Sharif returns to Pakistan after four years in self-exile

Former Pakistani Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, has returned to Pakistan after four years in self-exile in London, citing “vindication” and expressing confidence in his party’s ability to tackle the country’s crises. Arriving on the charter aircraft “Umeed-e-Pakistan,” which carried around 164 individuals, including party leaders and journalists, Nawaz’s return signifies his attempt at a political comeback in the upcoming general elections projected for late January next year.

Speaking to reporters at the Dubai airport before departing for Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif stated, “I am returning, with my honor upheld by the grace of Almighty Allah.” The former Prime Minister highlighted his role in Pakistan’s nuclear tests in 1998 and expressed his support for the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), emphasizing that the ECP is currently “fair.”

Nawaz Sharif believes his party, the PML-N, is well-equipped to address Pakistan’s current challenges, expressing his determination to lead the nation toward progress. After a stay in Riyadh and Dubai, he is set to arrive in Islamabad on Saturday, with a welcoming rally planned by his supporters in Lahore. Despite the challenges facing the nation, he remains hopeful for Pakistan’s recovery.

Nawaz also addressed the question of responsibility for the country’s current situation, raising concerns about the regression he observed since his departure in 2017. He noted a time when essential medicines were readily available and people were gaining employment and receiving free medical treatment, highlighting the need for positive change.

Nawaz Sharif, who has faced a past corruption conviction and an incomplete prison sentence, ensured a smooth return to Pakistan through legal relief from the Islamabad High Court and an accountability court earlier this week. His brother, Shehbaz Sharif, assumed power last year, and changes to the law have made his return feasible, reducing the disqualification period for lawmakers from contesting elections to five years. Known as the “Lion of Punjab,” Nawaz Sharif enjoys substantial support in the eastern and most populous province and is renowned for his grand political events.

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