PML-N Punjab president Rana Sanaullah on Tuesday said that absconding party supremo Nawaz Sharif would return to the country with protective bail and would “surrender to the court after his (welcome) reception” in Lahore on October 21.
The former prime minister, who has been in self-imposed exile since 2019, left for London in the middle of his seven-year jail term on medical grounds. In the four years that transpired, Nawaz was declared a proclaimed offender in the Al Azizia and Avenfield graft cases for his continuous absence from proceedings.
On Sept 12 this year, Nawaz’s brother Shehbaz had confirmed that his elder brother was returning to the country on Oct 21. On Sept 30, the PML-N had declared that Nawaz was ready to face “all kinds of circumstances” upon his return from London.
Addressing a press conference in Lahore today while flanked by the party’s local workers, Sanaullah dispelled the impression of PML-N striking a deal with the military establishment.
“This impression is wrong and baseless,” he said. “Our legal team has made all the preparations regarding Nawaz Sharif’s protective bail. He will come back with a protective bail and surrender to the courts after his reception.”
When asked whether he or the party had received any hint that Nawaz would be granted protective bail, Sanaullah asserted: “We don’t believe in such hints.”
The former interior minister maintained that the PML-N supremo’s case was based on facts, adding: “We fully believe in Nawaz Sharif’s innocence and since this case holds no weight, it’s unlikely that we won’t get relief.”
Sanaullah also mentioned how many people had availed relief in the past and that the party had complete faith in the legal process.
“The entire public is waiting to welcome their leader Nawaz Sharif. He’s coming to Lahore and will address the public at Minar-i-Pakistan. People from all walks of life and all over the country will come to Lahore. They will hear Nawaz live and the media will cover it throughout.”
Listing Nawaz’s contributions to the nation and “how he always led the country out of crisis”, Sanaullah recalled the pre-2013 election situation when the country was beset with terrorism and how the former PM steered the country out of it after his election victory.
“But when people gave him the mandate, we proved to the world that we solved the country’s problems and put it on a path to recovery in the next four years,” he added.
Sanaullah said the PML-N chief would “give hope to the people” while addressing them in Lahore and also “transform it into a reality”. He added that the PML-N would also release its manifesto then. “The aim is to make the common man’s life easier.”
Criticising the “experiments” carried out in the country, the PML-N leader claimed that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would have been completed by now and Pakistan would be in the G20 if Imran Khan had not been brought into power.
“But unfortunately Pakistan also became part of an adventure like 1999 (military coup) and even the ones before that,” he added. “Then on July 22 a managed decision by the judicial establishment was made.”
Sanaullah went on to say that the mindset behind politics of vendetta was the reason that had placed the country “in this quicksand”. He said if Nawaz did not return to give hope to the country, “it would be the biggest torture for the nation”.
“What we will do after coming back [to power] is empower Pakistan,” he added.
He said Nawaz had decided to come back and lead his party for the country’s good. “In this current situation, Pakistan needs a leader who brings the country back on track and takes it out of this mess.”
The PML-N leader also placed the most responsibility on the party’s Lahore division workers, since the Punjab capital was hosting “their Quaid”.