Former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who has been in self-imposed exile in the United Kingdom for the past four years, is scheduled to return to Pakistan on October 21. In anticipation of his return, his legal team has filed a protective bail petition with the Islamabad High Court to ensure he is not arrested upon arrival.
The petition, filed by Nawaz Sharif’s legal team, seeks protective bail to allow him to “submit to due process of justice and avail remedies permissible under the law” without the threat of immediate arrest. The document calls for the Islamabad High Court to intervene, preventing authorities from apprehending Nawaz Sharif at the airport upon his return, thereby enabling him to surrender before the court voluntarily.
Health issues have been cited as one of the reasons for the delay in Nawaz Sharif’s return. The petition acknowledges that his health was further compromised by the COVID-19 pandemic. It firmly dismisses any claims of deliberate abscondence, highlighting Nawaz Sharif’s exemplary track record and conduct.
While Nawaz Sharif may not be in an “ideal state of health,” the petition underscores his commitment to returning to Pakistan, particularly when the country faces severe economic and other crises. It argues that granting protective bail is crucial for the sake of justice.
The Islamabad High Court is expected to hear the plea in the next two days, allowing Nawaz Sharif to have a smooth reentry and address a rally of his supporters in Lahore, as planned by his party, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).
Last month, PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif confirmed Nawaz Sharif’s impending return to Pakistan, noting that he would lead the party’s campaign for the upcoming general election. The party has affirmed Nawaz’s readiness to face any circumstances upon his return from London.
Nawaz Sharif’s exile began in 2019 when the Lahore High Court granted him four weeks of permission to travel abroad for medical treatment. Prior to that, he had been serving a seven-year imprisonment at Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat jail in the Al-Azizia Mills case. His premiership came to an end in 2017 when he was disqualified for life from holding public office by the Supreme Court due to a failure to declare a receivable salary.
Nawaz Sharif’s return to Pakistan is eagerly anticipated by his supporters, and the legal proceedings surrounding his protective bail request will undoubtedly be closely watched in the coming days.
Sources By Agencies