Nawaz Sharif embarks on his trip to Pakistan, departing London for Saudi Arabia.

Nawaz Sharif

LONDON: After four years of self-imposed exile, Nawaz Sharif, the leader of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and a three-time former prime minister, has departed London on a journey back to Pakistan via Saudi Arabia and Dubai.

Nawaz’s initial destination is Saudi Arabia, where he will perform Umrah. Subsequently, he will spend three days in Dubai before boarding a chartered plane on October 21 to return to Pakistan. His primary aim upon arrival is to address a gathering at Minar-e-Pakistan, where he will outline his agenda for the upcoming elections.

As he bid farewell to his Avenfield flats in London, ending his exile, Nawaz was seen off by his staff, family members, and party supporters.

Accompanying him on the visit to Saudi Arabia are his close friend Mian Nasir Janjua, aide Waqar Ahmed, Karim Yousaf, and a few others. Janjua, the owner of MIDJAC company, spent nearly three years in exile in London with Nawaz and returned to Pakistan just a few months ago.

Nawaz will spend a week in Saudi Arabia, during which he will have significant meetings. He will then arrive in Dubai on October 17.

The special flight carrying Nawaz to Pakistan has been named “Umeed-e-Pakistan” and has a capacity of approximately 150 passengers. All necessary arrangements have been made, according to a source.

Nawaz, along with party members and journalists, is scheduled to leave Dubai for Pakistan on October 21. The flight will first land in Islamabad from Dubai before proceeding to Lahore, where Nawaz will address the gathering organized by his party supporters.

Meanwhile, PML-N senior leader Ishaq Dar expressed confidence that Nawaz would not be arrested upon his return to Pakistan. He stated that transit bail and protective bail would be sought from the court, and Nawaz Sharif would follow standard legal procedures. The PML-N’s narrative will focus on economic recovery, with Dar emphasizing, “Recovery of the economy is the best revenge.”

Nawaz Sharif initially arrived in London nearly four years ago in November 2019, using an air ambulance to seek medical treatment for multiple illnesses after receiving permission to leave Pakistan from the Lahore High Court. Accompanied by his brother Shehbaz Sharif and a personal physician, he was taken to his London residence at Avenfield apartments.

Nawaz chose not to return to Pakistan and has been conducting party affairs and addressing party workers from London ever since. This marks his second period of exile after being ousted following a bloodless military coup in 1999.

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