LAHORE: With the PML-N’s supreme leader Nawaz Sharif scheduled to arrive in Pakistan in less than a month, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) is set to reopen three cases against him linked to alleged illegal plot allotments and land acquisitions in Lahore, as well as a questionable share transfer in Chaudhry Sugar Mills.
This move by NAB is based on a recent Supreme Court decision that struck down amendments to the accountability law by the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) government, sources told Dawn. Mr Sharif has been residing in the UK since November 2019 in what has been described as “self-imposed” exile.
In one of the cases from 1986, Mr Sharif, while serving as Punjab’s chief minister, allegedly misused his position to allot plots in Allama Iqbal Town and Gulberg, Lahore. Another accusation from 1998 centres on the alleged unlawful construction of a road from the Adda Plot to his residence in Lahore.
The third case pertains to the disputed share transfers in Chaudhry Sugar Mills, owned by Nawaz Sharif and his family.
Maryam chairs huddle to review party’s preparations for father’s homecoming
As these cases are being opened to ‘greet’ Mr Sharif on his return on Oct 21, the PML-N leaders held a huddle at Jati Umra on Wednesday, which was presided over by the party’s chief organiser Maryam Nawaz Sharif.
The meeting was also attended by several leaders from the Nawaz camp, including Pervaiz Rashid, Javed Latif, Rana Sanullah, Mohsin Ranjha and Marriyum Aurangzeb.
“The participants briefed Ms Nawaz, who returned from London a day before, over the party’s preparations regarding the arrival of the elder Sharif. Mr Sharif would go to Minar-i-Pakistan by road after landing at the Lahore airport and make a public speech,” a source said.
The party’s deputy secretary general, Attaullah Tarar, also joined the meeting and briefed it on the cases Mr Sharif is currently facing.
The meeting also discussed the party’s ambitious plan to gather a large number of people for Nawaz Sharif’s reception at Minar-i-Pakistan.
The party has divided Punjab into nine divisions and appointed Ahsan Iqbal, Khurram Dastgir, Saad Rafique, Attaullah Tarar, Javed Latif, Awais Leghari, Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, Saud Majid, Malik Ahmad Khan, Musadik Malik, Hanif Abbasi and Sheikh Aftab as coordinators.
Each coordinator has been tasked with bringing 100,000 people to the Minar-i-Pakistan on Mr Sharif’s arrival. “Maryam Nawaz has already told these coordinators that their performance will be judged as how many people they bring with themselves,” a party source said.
He said that Maryam Nawaz told the participants to give her a complete report on meeting the set target in the next huddle on Sept 30.
There are also reports that some senior leaders, including Khawaja Saad Rafique, have strong differences with the party’s Lahore President Saiful Malook Khokhar and such issues might cause problems in mobilising workers for Mr Sharif’s welcome.
The PML-N also rubbished reports that Nawaz Sharif might not come on Oct 21. “As the date of the party’s Quaid is approaching, a rumour mill has started its work, creating doubts whether he would come or not,” PML-N’s information secretary for Punjab, Azma Bokhari, told Dawn.
“The propaganda campaign regarding the postponement of the arrival plan of Nawaz Sharif has begun by nefarious elements. There has been no change whatsoever in his return plan on Oct 21,” she said.
To a question about the protective bail for Nawaz Sharif ahead of his arrival, Ms Bokhari said Mr Sharif’s legal team was working on the matter and would finalise it soon.
Published in Dawn, September 28th, 2023