LONDON: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif has left London for Pakistan via Saudi Arabia and Dubai — after four years of self-imposed exile.
Nawaz has left London for Saudi Arabia for Umrah, after which he will reside in Dubai for three days and then fly to Pakistan in a chartered plane on October 21 to address a gathering at Minar-e-Pakistan, where he will chalk out his agenda ahead of next elections.
As Nawaz left Avenfield flats ending his exile, he was seen off by his staff, family members, and party workers.
He is accompanied on the Saudi visit by his close friend Mian Nasir Janjua, aide Waqar Ahmed, Karim Yousaf, and a few others. Janjua, the owner of MIDJAC company, spent nearly three years in exile in London with Nawaz and returned to Pakistan just a few months ago.
The PML-N supremo will reach Saudi Arabia for Umrah on Wednesday. He will stay in the kingdom for a week during which he will hold important meetings. He will arrive in Dubai on October 17.
The flight carrying Nawaz to Pakistan will have the name “Umeed-e-Pakistan”, which can carry approximately 150 passengers. “The booking has been made and all arrangements are in place,” said a source.
Nawaz, along with party members and journalists, is scheduled to leave Dubai for Pakistan on October 21.
The special flight will land in Islamabad from Dubai before proceeding to Lahore, where Nawaz will address the gathering arranged by his party faithful.
Meanwhile, PML-N senior leader Ishaq Dar said there is no chance of Nawaz being arrested on return to Pakistan.
He said that transit bail and protective bail would be obtained from the court. “Nawaz Sharif will follow the standard legal procedures.”
He said that PML-N’s narrative will be focusing on the economy. Dar said: “Recovery of the economy is the best revenge.”
The former prime minister arrived in London nearly four years ago in November 2019 in an air ambulance to seek medical treatment for multiple diseases after he was allowed to leave Pakistan by the Lahore High Court.
He was accompanied by his brother Shehbaz Sharif and a personal physician as he was taken to his London residence at Avenfield apartments.
Nawaz had arrived in London for a few weeks only and he has been getting regular medical check-ups at the Harley Street clinic.
He decided not to return to Pakistan and initiated his speeches to party workers from London and has been conducting party affairs ever since from here.
This is Nawaz’s second exile term after first being deposed in a bloodless military coup in 1999.