Follow Us on Google News
Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been in London for the past three to four years. Workers and leaders of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz continue to announce his return to the country, but just recently, in London, Shehbaz Sharif stated that Nawaz Sharif will return to Pakistan in mid-October instead of September.
Nawaz Sharif was present while this statement was made, but he avoided directly speaking to journalists.
What’s hindering Nawaz Sharif’s return?
According to sources close to Nawaz Sharif, he intends to return to Pakistan, and he is also clear that he wants to participate in the upcoming elections and become the Prime Minister for the fourth time. However, he is not inclined to endure the difficulties of imprisonment and house arrest again. He has indicated that he will only return when the risk is reduced to zero percent. A few days ago, his close associate Khawaja Asif also stated on a television channel that he would return when there is zero percent risk.
Nawaz Sharif is confident that his dealings with the establishment are fully settled. The economic projects related to foreign investment in Pakistan, especially those involving Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, etc., have his involvement. He believes that the current economic conditions are beyond the control of the establishment and that after weakening the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) through the vote of no confidence in parliament, there is no other option left for the people of Pindi except the PML-N.
However, as mentioned earlier, Nawaz Sharif wants to eliminate all doubts, so he is recalculating everything carefully. He is closely watching Imran Khan’s sentences and cases. He will also take guarantees from those abroad, and he will only come to Pakistan when he is absolutely certain that he will be made the next Prime Minister.
Why October instead of September?
There are several reasons for choosing October over September. First, the current Chief Justices will remain until September 16. Nawaz Sharif wants his case to start then. He was sentenced by the NAB Accountability Court, and his appeal is pending in the Islamabad High Court. His status is that of a convicted prisoner, so if he is not already on bail, he could be arrested upon his return to Pakistan, potentially sent to jail, or placed under house arrest by the caretaker government.
Nawaz Sharif desires a quick decision on his appeal by the Islamabad High Court. It’s possible that he might not seek bail and voluntarily spend a few days in jail to build the image of a hero. Alternatively, he might opt for bail and engage in political activities. It’s likely that he will get immediate relief from the Islamabad High Court. However, before September 16, he fears that if the Supreme Court was approached for an appeal against the High Court’s decision, Chief Justice’s actions might create difficulties for him. Hence, he intends to initiate this process after September 16.
Another reason for selecting October for the return is the more pleasant weather conditions. Lahore’s leaders recommended October, as September is very hot and could deter people from coming out on the streets. PML-N workers usually do not show much interest in participating in protests on the streets, and if the weather is difficult, their numbers could diminish. October tends to be more favorable in Lahore.
The third reason, as reported by insider sources, is that Nawaz Sharif wishes to adopt the same approach as Justice Faiz Isa. He wants to assess Justice Faiz Isa’s behavior during this one-month period from September to mid-October. Whether he becomes a friendly Chief Justice for the PML-N or takes tough decisions will become apparent during this time.
The fourth reason involves analyzing the policies of the caretaker government closely. Nawaz Sharif also wishes to see further stern decisions made by the government, hoping that curses and criticism will be directed toward it instead of the PTI government. Increased electricity prices, higher fuel costs, and making gas more expensive are the type of actions Nawaz Sharif anticipates in the next two to three weeks. All of this should happen before mid-October.
Can PTI be Countered?
I asked this question to many informed PML-N associates. Those familiar with the Sharif family’s thinking say that Nawaz Sharif isn’t very concerned about countering the PTI. They know that the PTI won’t go into the election with all its might. Imran Khan won’t be in the field, and many good PTI candidates might be forced to return their tickets.
They will fight openly, and if they win, they can easily be brought on board. According to Nawaz Sharif and his think tanks, they don’t need PTI’s votes or support; they want to unite anti-Imran Khan votes. They believe that PML-N’s strong vote bank is in most Punjab constituencies. When their weakness is exposed against the disseminated PTI and efficient management on Election Day, PML-N’s advantage will come into play, and they will secure many seats in Punjab. Nawaz Sharif also wants some seats from KPK, and he aims to make inroads into Balochistan as well.
Can a Coalition Government Form?
A coalition government is not an issue for Nawaz Sharif. He intends to easily include Maulana Fazlur Rehman and the PPP in the government. They are also willing to give provincial governments to ANP, JUI-F, and others. However, they will expect something in return from these parties. In Punjab, Nawaz Sharif desires a strong provincial government. In the center, they also need either a clear majority or a situation near a majority to prevent blackmail.
Will It Happen?
This is a question for which nobody has the answer. The famous saying is that humans plan, and fate has its own designs. However, many indicators point toward Nawaz Sharif’s favor. He’s on the same page as the establishment. The establishment is currently planning to eliminate the PTI and Imran Khan politically. Nawaz Sharif has inserted himself into potential future economic planning, while he and the establishment both believe that Imran Khan is entirely unfit for the future’s scenario.
“Currently, the worrying factor is only the PTI’s public popularity. PML-N is working on various strategies to counter this. There are many ideas for when Nawaz Sharif returns, and we’ll witness their implementation. To what extent they succeed, we’ll soon see.”
In conclusion, Nawaz Sharif wants to return but only if certain guarantees are obtained and he is fully assured. If reliable guarantees are received, and Nawaz Sharif becomes completely certain, he will return to the country in mid-October. Otherwise, the pathways for his return in politics will remain open, and the Sharif family will easily alter their initial statement by providing another excuse.