Shehbaz Sharif returns home


–PML-N president to hold meetings with party leadership, Opp parties ahead of budget sessions 

–Marriyum Aurangzeb says PM Imran should ‘worry’ now that Shehbaz has returned 

LAHORE: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif landed in Pakistan in the wee hours of Sunday ahead of the imminent budget sessions after spending over a month in London on medical grounds.

The former Punjab chief minister had left for London after his name was removed from the no-fly list by the Lahore High Court. His stay was supposed to be short, but it was prolonged, giving rise to speculations that the former CM won’t return to Pakistan.

What added to fuel to the speculations was the fact that PML-N president stepped down from the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairmanship, which he, along with the allied parties, had fought so hard for. The decision to quit the post was termed “first step towards a deal” by the PM’s Special Assistant on Information and Broadcasting Firdous Ashiq Awan.

As he landed at the Allama Iqbal International Airport in Lahore amid tight security, the PML-N chief was greeted by a large number of party leaders and workers with who were there to welcome him with flowers and garland.

In the form of a rally, party workers accompanied him from the airport to his residence in Model Town, where sweets were distributed.

Shehbaz has returned at a time when the government is all set to announce the federal budget. He will chair a party meeting on Monday where the PML-N will formulate strategy pertaining to the budget.

Moreover, the PML-N chief will also hold consultations with the opposition parties to give Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) a tough time.

His return was described by PML-N Spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb an end to the “leeway” given to Prime Minister Imran Khan. She said [Leader of the House] Imran should worry as he will have to “answer to Shehbaz [NA Opp Leader] for his inefficiency and incapability”.

She said that “the fear of Shehbaz’s return has made the prime minister hide in the mountains, while his spokespersons are dead silent.”

Speaking to media-persons at Heathrow Airport, Shehbaz said that ruling party wasn’t treating him and opposition fairly. He said it resorted to a method of “cruelty and injustice”. “I am ready to face anything which government met out against me,” he stated.

Shehbaz Sharif left for London in April for detailed medical checkups and later when doctors advised him to not travel, he delayed his return to Pakistan.

Shehbaz faces court cases regarding corruption and dishonesty. In the Ashiyana housing scam, Shehbaz is accused of ordering the cancellation of a contract given to successful bidder Chaudhry Latif and Sons for the low-cost housing scheme, which led to the award of the contract to Lahore Casa Developers, a proxy group of Paragon City Private Limited, resulting in a loss of Rs193 million.

In the Ramzan Sugar Mills corruption case, Shehbaz and his son Hamza Shahbaz are accused of “fraudulently and dishonestly” causing a Rs213 million loss to the national exchequer.