LAHORE: PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz Sharif took the first available flight to London on Wednesday to see her father and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif after around three years.

“I’m impatient to meet my father. I cannot wait for my plane to land to see him. I just cannot express my feelings,” Ms Sharif told a private TV channel while entering the Allama Iqbal Airport terminal. The plane of the Gulf-based private airline took off at 9:45am.

The PML-N leader’s personal staff accompanied her. Her supporters among the passengers took selfies with her when Ms Sharif, clad in a black suit, was sitting at a coffee shop.

Ms Sharif had received her passport a day ago from the Lahore High Court, surrendered to it as a guarantee for not leaving the country to escape prosecution in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills case being probed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

En route to London, she is scheduled to have a day-long stopover in Doha where she would meet her son Junaid Safdar and his wife. She will stay at the house of former senator Saifur Rehman, who is father-in-law of Junaid.

Junaid and his wife are likely to accompany Ms Sharif to London.

Before leaving for the airport, she offered fateha at the graves of her grandfather, mother and uncle at Jati Umra.

She is likely to stay for a month in London and meet her siblings — Hussain and Hassan Nawaz — after July 13, 2018, the day she returned from UK along with her father and was arrested at the Lahore airport and sent to Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi in NAB cases.

Ms Sharif will also undergo a surgery in London.

Captain (retired) Mohammad Safdar, her husband, told the media at the Lahore airport that Ms Sharif would look after her father and supervise his medical treatment, pending since November 2019 because of Covid-19 pandemic. She would also discuss with him the current political situation of the country, he added.

Ms Sharif was earlier placed on the Exit Control List (ECL) in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills reference and then her name was again added to the no-fly list in 2020 on a NAB’s request in connection with investigation into the Chaudhry Sugar Mills case.

Her name was removed from the ECL in April this year soon after the PML(N)-led coalition government was formed in Islamabad and it introduced changes to rules controlling the citizens’ exit from the country.

Published in Dawn, October 6th, 2022

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