Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s troubles are all set to increase with his predecessor being given the nudge by the establishment to return to the country.
Agecy Sources says that Sharif, in a subtle way, was told that he is needed in Pakistan and should come back. The development comes amid a power tussle between the army and Khan, with the former planning to pave the exit route for the ex-cricketer who has fallen out of favour.
Sharif, convicted in two corruption cases — Avenfield properties and Al-Azizia Steel Mills — was declared a proclaimed offender in December 2019 by the Islamabad High Court after he failed to appear before it with regard to other cases against him. An accountability court in Pakistan in 2018 had sentenced Sharif to 10 years in prison for owning assets beyond his known sources of income and one year for not cooperating with in the investigation of the Avenfield case.
In the same year, he was sentenced to seven years imprisonment in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills corruption case, where illegal investments were detected. All sentences were to run concurrently.
He has been living in London, UK, since November 2019 after the Lahore High Court granted him permission to go abroad for four weeks for medical treatment. In a recent controversy, Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Justice Rana M Shamim filed a sworn affidavit in which he declared that he had witnessed the-then CJP Saqib Nisar had ordered a High Court judge that Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz should not be released on bail prior to the 2018 general elections.
Sources close to Nawaz Sharif say the affidavit was possibly filed only after the consent of the army and suggests the former PM was possibly framed.
The return of Nawaz Sharif will be a major trigger against Imran Khan, leaving Khan with no option but to resign.
Sources told that two options have been presented before Imran Khan: that he either resigns on his own before November 20, or the Opposition brings an in-house change in the Parliament. In both cases, Imran Khan is going, the sources said, adding that in the coming week, ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf will lose its political allies Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-Q).
Parvez Khattak from PTI and Shahbaz Sharif from the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) are probable names for the Prime Ministerial post, the sources said.
Imran Khan’s political space has been in danger also due to the poor state of the country’s economy and stretched-out protests by the TLP group, whose demands the Prime Minister was forced to accept, in order to end the violent demonstrations across key stations.