LONDON: A flurry of meetings took place at Stanhope House, the PML-N’s de facto headquarters here, on Saturday, where the party’s top leadership met key members of its legal team ahead of Nawaz Sharif’s planned return to Pakistan.
In addition, the party also announced that former opposition leader Raja Riaz had joined their ranks, following a meeting with Mr Sharif on Saturday.
Former law minister Azam Nazeer Tarar and lawyer Amjad Pervaiz Malik met the party supremo in the morning, with sources saying the legal team discussed Nawaz’s legal predicaments given that he is embroiled in multiple cases.
“[The Supreme Court’s verdict] has no link to Mian sahib’s return,” Mr Tarar told reporters when he was asked to comment on whether there would be a rethink in the Nawaz camp after NAB amendments were struck down by the apex court.
Asked to comment on the retirement of outgoing Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Atta Bandial, he said, “After the reaction of the country’s bar associations, what else is there to say?”
He responded to a question about the “favouritism” in the judiciary by saying: “I believe some judges have honoured their oath to the Constitution and some have made errors. There should be no split in the courts. But a new era is starting, and the new CJP Faez Isa will be someone whose past shows he is very independent and has always talked of supremacy of the Constitution. He is a judge of great character and this impression of a split will end in his tenure.”
Mr Malik said Maryam Nawaz’s acquittals were “on merit under the old amendments” in the Avenfield reference, and that Nawaz’s cases are “excellent on merit”.
He said there was no evidence of corruption and that the lawyers presented evidence and maintained their innocence.
Another member of the legal team told reporters, “Legal matters pertaining to Mian Nawaz Sharif are very straightforward. The legal orders are in plain speak, so whatever the process is will be done according to the law.”
Speaking to reporters after a meeting with his elder brother, former PM Shehbaz Sharif said Justice Bandial’s decision on the NAB law lent weight to legislation created by a dictator. He also said Bandial’s legacy is the very controversial decisions that he made.
Maryam meets leaders in capital
Meanwhile, in Islamabad, PML-N Chief Organiser Maryam Nawaz Sharif claimed that her party would alter the country’s political landscape when it receives a public mandate.
Ms Nawaz, who is also senior vice president of the party, was addressing a meeting of office-bearers from Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan and Islamabad soon after her arrival to the federal capital from Lahore.
Reportedly, the party supremo has tasked former interior minister Rana Sanaullah with preparing for his reception.
Ms Nawaz, on the other hand, will monitor the mobilisation of the party. In addition, the elder Sharif has instructed all party leaders in London and other parts of the world to immediately return to Pakistan.
The former premier has sought a weekly report regarding party mobilisation.
Iftikhar A. Khan in Islamabad also contributed to this report
Published in Dawn, September 17th, 2023