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'Special assignment': Pakistan's former PM Nawaz Sharif heads to China on 'private visit'

The insider said it was being speculated in party circles whether the elder Sharif had some ‘special assignment’ in China, which could not be carried out by his younger brother, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.

Edited By: Ajeet Kumar @Ajeet1994 Lahore Published on: April 23, 2024 9:13 IST
Pakistan's former PM Nawaz Sharif
Image Source : PTI Pakistan's former PM Nawaz Sharif

Lahore: Pakistan's former prime minister Nawaz Sharif left for China late on Monday on a five-day "private visit". The Sharif family is keeping the visit low-profile. According to the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), its supreme leader left for China on a Chinese Southern Airlines flight on a private visit along with his grandson, Junaid Safdar, and personal staff from the Lahore airport. The PML-N, however, did not disclose Sharif's plans during his five-day stay in China.

Local media says Sharif will undergo a medical check-up in China and hold meetings with some Chinese companies regarding development projects in Punjab, where his daughter Maryam Nawaz is the chief minister. Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar is also reportedly accompanying him.

"special assignment" in China

It is also being speculated in the PML-N circles that Sharif might be on a "special assignment" in China. 

A source close to the Sharif family told Dawn that the purpose of the elder Sharif’s visit was not discussed with the party leadership. “The programme of [Nawaz] Sharif’s visit to China has been kept secret from the party and the PML-N government. Perhaps some very close associates of the elder Sharif would know the exact nature of his visit,” he said.

The insider said it was being speculated in party circles whether the elder Sharif had some ‘special assignment’ in China, which could not be carried out by his younger brother, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.

Is Sharif really going to China for medical reasons?

Sharif never visited China in the past for medical reasons. He went to the United Kingdom on medical grounds in 2019 and stayed there in self-exile, before his return in 2023 after the fall of Imran Khan's government. His younger brother Shehbaz Sharif is leading a six-party coalition at the Centre.

After his dream of becoming prime minister for a fourth time shattered in the February election, Nawaz Sharif has been keeping a low profile.

(With inputs from agency)

Also Read: Pakistan: PM Shehbaz rakes up Kashmir issue with visiting Iranian President Raisi I DETAILS

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