Former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif, has been at the center of a long-standing legal and political saga. Having left Pakistan in 2019 for medical treatment in London amid graft allegations, his prolonged self-imposed exile has now taken a new turn with a Pakistani court granting him protection from arrest, paving the way for his possible return. In this article, we revisit Nawaz Sharif’s exile, the reasons behind his arrest warrant, and the latest developments.
Nawaz Shari’s London Exile
Nawaz Sharif’s exile began in 2019 when, after stepping down as Pakistan’s Prime Minister in 2017 following a conviction for corruption, he sought medical treatment in London. He faced corruption charges related to the purchase of luxury apartments in London. His departure was facilitated by his successor, Prime Minister Imran Khan, who granted him permission to travel for medical treatment after a court order.
Despite the initial medical reasons for his stay in London, Nawaz Sharif’s absence from Pakistan continued for an extended period. He claimed that his doctors advised against travel, which led to suspicions about the true reasons for his stay abroad.
Arrest Warrant and Legal Challenges
In 2020, an anti-graft court in Islamabad issued a warrant for Nawaz Sharif’s arrest when he failed to return to Pakistan, further deepening the legal entanglement. The warrant was issued due to his absence in court to face the corruption charges against him. This arrest warrant became a significant point of contention in Pakistan’s political landscape.
The charges against Nawaz Sharif centred on the purchase of upscale apartments in London, and in 2018, he was convicted and sentenced to ten years in prison by an anti-graft tribunal. The case revealed allegations of corruption and misuse of power, adding to the complex legal battles surrounding the former prime minister.
Nawaz gets protection from arrest!
In recent developments, a Pakistani court has granted Nawaz Sharif protection from arrest until October 24, providing him with a window to return to Pakistan. This decision has been met with appreciation from his party, the Pakistan Muslim League, and sets the stage for his potential homecoming.
Nawaz Sharif’s return has been highly anticipated, especially in the run-up to parliamentary elections scheduled for January. His party is keen for him to lead their election campaign, although he is expected to appear before multiple courts in Islamabad starting October 24 to face his remaining legal cases.
The Islamabad High Court’s decision is seen as a significant boost for Nawaz Sharif and his party, arriving just two days before his planned return to Pakistan. It is a pivotal moment for Pakistan as it navigates a complex political landscape marked by deepening political and economic turmoil, with the former prime minister poised to re-enter the scene.
Nawaz Sharif’s return and his potential role in the upcoming elections will be closely watched, as they could have far-reaching implications for the future direction of Pakistan’s political landscape.