Nawaz Sharif to present ‘agenda of progress’ at Minar-e-Pakistan on Oct 21: Shehbaz

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LONDON: Former prime minister and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif on Friday clarified that there was no change in the party’s supremo Nawaz Sharif’s plan for returning homeland.

The PML-N president said he had arrived in London to discuss his brother’s legal and political steps ahead of his arrival in Pakistan on October 21.

The former prime minister spoke to the media after holding important talks, attended by Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz, Ishaq Dar, Talal Chaudhary and others at the Stanhope House in the British capital. Both Maryam and Shehbaz had reached London late on Thursday night.

Shehbaz made it clear that there was “zero substance” in the speculations that were going rounds that he had rushed to London, days after reaching Lahore, with “a special message” for his elder brother. The reports had suggested that he had a “special meeting in Gujranwala” earlier this week where he had received that message.

The former prime minister said he was in London on Nawaz’s instructions to discuss important matters including the next legal, administrative and political steps of the Sharif family and the PML-N and “we have made decisions”. He added that the reports were false and speculative.

“Nawaz Sharif will return to a resounding welcome in Lahore and then address the nation at a rally at Minar-e-Pakistan where he will present the party’s plan to tackle poverty, unemployment and improve the economic situation. He will present the agenda of progress and success. Nawaz Sharif is the leader who took Pakistan to the path of progress and hope before, and delivered for the masses and will do so again,” assured Shehbaz.

The PML-N president also said the country should look at the party’s performance from 2013 to 2017 “when Nawaz Sharif ended 20 hours load-shedding, mainstreamed CPEC, and invited billions in investment, end load-shedding in Pakistan and he brought energy and hope, he brought over $30 billion investment to Pakistan”.

The former PM said Nawaz is a “ray of hope” for the nation.

He went on to say that inflation was low in Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan, GDP growth was at 6.5%, industries were flourishing, people had jobs and every segment of the society was progressing but a “cruel joke” was played with the nation when his brother was removed from power in 2017 by the Supreme Court judges.

“That’s when Pakistan was thwarted from racing to new heights and Nawaz’s mandate was stolen in a conspiracy against Pakistan. The elections were rigged in 2018 and millions of Pakistanis were deprived of the path of progress. Nawaz Sharif is coming back to Pakistan to start the same journey. He’s coming back as the saviour and reformer,” the PML-N president.

Shehbaz said: “Imran Khan taught vulgarity to the nation. Nawaz will end this poison and will educate the youth and will give them employment.”

He said that it was tragic that “poison” was injected into Pakistan’s national discourse, abuse of colleagues and mentors was normalised and the culture of vulgarity was taken to an unprecedented level, which has damaged Pakistan.

Shehbaz’s visit comes days after videos of Nawaz calling for the accountability of former army chief Gen (retd) Qamar Javed Bajwa and ex-ISI chief Lt Gen (retd) Faiz Hamid were published by the London party headquarters on social media.

However, during the press conference, Shehbaz said bringing Pakistan together and moving forward is the need of the hour. “Rome was not built in a day. Nawaz Sharif never over-promised or exaggerated. He has always delivered on his promises.”

Meanwhile, Maryam Nawaz in her brief media interaction, told Geo News that her father would get a historic reception in Lahore when he lands in about a month from now.

When asked if there is any truth to the rumours that Nawaz will perhaps not return or will delay his return, she said: “These rumours will die. I don’t pay much attention to rumours.”

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