Former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has arrived at Dubai International Airport and is all set to return to his home country in a few hours.
In a post on the PML-N's official platform, the party announced, "Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, the leader of PML-N, has reached Dubai airport to board the 'Umeed-e-Pakistan' flight for his historic journey back to Pakistan. Daikho daikho kon aaya!!"
As Sharif arrived at Dubai airport, he expressed his happiness, saying, "Today, I am returning to Pakistan after 4 years, and I am feeling very grateful to Allah. It would be great if the situation in Pakistan today were better than it was in 2017."
Sharif's return to Pakistan after a four-year self-imposed exile in London has prompted the PML-N to prepare for a grand welcome. Several party leaders and supporters from all across Pakistan are converging in Lahore for a significant political rally at Minar-e-Pakistan.
Sharif's last term as Prime Minister, which began with a triumphant victory in 2013, was marred by various challenges. It started with a months-long opposition-led blockade of Islamabad and ended with his disqualification by the Supreme Court in 2017. This court ruling followed extensive hearings related to alleged corruption during his previous two terms in office, instigated by the "Panama Papers" leaks.
In the timeline of cases against Nawaz Sharif, he was sentenced to 10 years in jail in the Avenfield reference on July 6, 2018. This sentence was accompanied by a fine of 8 million Euros (Pakistani Rupees 1.3 billion). Nawaz Sharif was convicted in absentia while he was in London, caring for his ailing wife.
On July 13, 2018, Nawaz and his daughter Maryam Nawaz were arrested upon their arrival in Lahore from London. Following legal proceedings, the Islamabad High Court temporarily suspended their sentences and ordered their release. However, in December of the same year, Nawaz was sentenced to seven years in jail and a fine of PKR 1.5 billion in the Al-Azizia sugar mills reference, leading to his arrest from the courtroom and disqualification from holding public office for ten years.
In October 2019, Nawaz was diagnosed with an immune system disorder while serving his sentence in the Al-Azizia case, leading to his release on interim bail for medical treatment abroad. The Lahore High Court allowed him to travel abroad for four weeks, with the condition that he would return as per a court-approved undertaking and extend the stay based on medical reports.
On September 1, 2020, the Islamabad High Court ordered Nawaz Sharif to surrender and appear in court, declaring his bail as lapsed. This led to the issuance of non-bailable arrest warrants. He was even declared a "proclaimed offender" for not complying with court orders despite notices and arrest warrants.
In a significant development in September of the current year, Nawaz Sharif's brother, then Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, announced his return to Pakistan on October 21, just ahead of the general election process and the dissolution of the National Assembly.
Finally, on October 19, Nawaz Sharif was granted protective bail in two graft cases, and an accountability court suspended his arrest warrant in the Toshakhana case, clearing the legal path for his smooth return to the country.