Islamabad: Nawaz Sharif is set to be re-elected as the president of Pakistan’s ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) on Tuesday after the party Monday agreed to amend its Constitution and pave the way for the ousted prime minister’s return.
Sharif, 67, had to step down as the chief of the PML-N after he was disqualified as prime minister by the Supreme Court on 28 July in the Panama Papers scandal.
The central working committee of the PML-N passed a resolution reposing its confidence in the leadership of Sharif, Pakistani media reported. The leaders also agreed to amend the party’s constitution so that any person could assume the presidency even if that person did not hold public office, Dawn newspaper reported.
PML-N chairman Raja Zafarul Haq presided over the CWC session, which was also attended by Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharif, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and interim president Senator Sardar Yaqub Nasir.
The recent passage of the Elections Bill 2017— a set of laws to reform Pakistan’s election system — by both the lower and upper houses of parliament has already paved the way for the former prime minister to once again take the helm of the PML-N.
Earlier in the day, an informal advisory session was held after Nawaz returned to Punjab House after appearing before an accountability court. Nawaz had appeared before the accountability court on Monday after being summoned in connection with three graft cases prepared by the national accountability bureau (NAB) against him and his family in the Panama Papers case.
However, he was not formally charged with a crime as his lawyer argued that all of the accused in the case must be present in court before they could be indicted. The accused — Nawaz; his children Hussain, Hassan, and Maryam; and son-in- law Mohammad Safdar — are now expected to appear on 9 October to be formally indicted.
The court has issued non-bailable arrest warrants for the men and a bailable warrant for Maryam, likely keeping in mind that she may need to stay with her ailing mother in London. The PML-N has also convened a meeting of its general council today and tomorrow to formally begin the process of re-electing Sharif as the party’s president.
Earlier, there had been reports that the ousted prime minister would fly to London on Thursday to be with his wife, Kulsoom, who has been undergoing treatment for throat cancer at a private hospital in London.