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Pakistan: Ex-PM Nawaz Sharif to arrive in Lahore tomorrow after four years, police on alert

Nawaz Sharif was allowed to leave for London in 2019 on medical grounds after his conviction and imprisonment in the Al-Azizia Mills case. He is still considered a crowd-puller for the upcoming elections and will address a major rally in Lahore tomorrow.

Aveek Banerjee Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee Lahore Updated on: October 20, 2023 17:30 IST
Former Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif
Image Source : AP/FILE Former Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif

Former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will arrive in Lahore to address a major rally of his party tomorrow after four years in self-imposed exile. Police are reportedly on alert ahead of his arrival citing some threats flagged by security agencies.

According to the Pakistani daily Dawn, sources in the Punjab government said that Pakistan's security agencies have flagged a couple of threat alerts against the ex-premier that have put the home department and the police on their toes to ensure his security.

A senior Punjab Home Department official confirmed that officials convened a high-level meeting and took the Punjab police in confidence to ensure Nawaz's safety. The official said that top political leaders face threat alerts and security agencies take appropriate measures for the same.

The Lahore district administration granted the permission for the public meeting of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) with at least 39 conditions including all requisite precautionary measures for the safety of participants and the public.

Nawaz Sharif in Dubai

Meanwhile, the PML-N supremo touched down in Dubai on Friday ahead of his long-anticipated return to Pakistan. His arrival was complicated by a few hours of delay as he was held up in a meeting in Saudi Arabia, Geo News reported citing sources.

Nawaz will be accompanied by around 150 people on his return to Pakistan in a chartered plane. Leaders of his party are making special efforts to welcome the former premier in Lahore tomorrow, including booking multiple trains.

Nawaz left for London in November 2019 after the Lahore High Court granted him four-week permission to go abroad for his treatment. He was serving a seven-year imprisonment at Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat jail in the Al-Azizia Mills case when he was allowed to proceed to London in 2019 on "medical grounds".

He was convicted in the Al-Azizia Mills and Avenfield corruption cases in 2018 and was disqualified by the Supreme Court for life for concealing assets. However, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo is still considered as a crowd-puller for the upcoming general election.

In February 2020, Nawaz was declared an absconder. Later in the same year, an accountability court declared him a proclaimed offender in the Toshakhana vehicles reference. Now, as he returns to Pakistan after almost four years, Nawaz Sharif is facing new problems that can his hopes of a political comeback in jeopardy.

PML-N Punjab President Rana Sanaullah earlier said that Nawaz would return to Islamabad with 'protective bail' and surrender to the court after his reception.

ALSO READ | Pakistan: Nawaz Sharif to surrender to court with 'protective bail' upon return, says party leader

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