Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif along with some cabinet members Tuesday left for London to meet his elder brother Nawaz Sharif – the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo – in the wake of heightened political uncertainty in the country.
According to media reports, Finance Minister Miftah Ismail, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb, Railways Minister Saad Rafique, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal and Ayaz Sadiq are accompanying the premier. Sources said that the PML-N delegation led by PM Shehbaz left for London to attend an urgent meeting summoned by Nawaz Sharif in which some important decision would be made.
Earlier, Marriyum Aurangzeb confirmed that Shehbaz Sharif would travel to London as part of a PML-N delegation to meet the party supremo.
Addressing a press conference in Islamabad alongside Power Minister Khurram Dastgir, she noted that several media channels were airing the news that PML-N members were going to visit Nawaz in London, which she said the government’s opponents were blowing out of proportion.
“PML-N members are going on a private visit to London to meet Nawaz Sharif,” she said.
However, the minister appeared to downplay the matter by saying that the process of consultation was not unusual among political parties.
“This is not that big of an issue but those who have nothing to say have found a topic.”
Source added that PM Shehbaz would remain in London for two to three days. So far, the exact purpose of the trip remains unclear.
Nawaz, who is convicted in a corruption case, has been living in London on the pretext of ill health since November 2019, when the Lahore High Court had allowed him to leave the country for four weeks for medical treatment after Shehbaz, his younger brother, gave an undertaking that he (Nawaz) would return within the stipulated time. Later, Nawaz sought extensions to prolong his stay in London on medical grounds.
Last month, Nawaz had also conducted meetings with Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, who was later appointed Pakistan’s foreign minister.
The two had agreed to implement the left-out clauses of the Charter of Democracy (CoD), signed by the two parties some 16 years ago and to finalise a roadmap for the future with the consensus of all democratic forces.
Meanwhile, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Tuesday said PTI Chairman Imran Khan had no moral ground to appeal to the Supreme Court to take notice of Omar Sarfraz Cheema’s removal as Punjab governor.
She was responding to Imran’s remarks, urging the top court to take notice of what he described as a “blatant violation” of the constitution and law in Punjab after a late-night federal government notification saw Omar Sarfraz Cheema removed as the province’s governor.
“He (Imran Khan) seemed to have no iota of shame as despite being a violator of the constitution he was talking about the supremacy of the constitution,” she said in a statement.
She added that the “fascist era” of Imran-led government would continue to be condemned for “violating” the constitution. It, she added, had exposed the “political hypocrisy” of the PTI chairman. “The constitutional posts of governor, speaker and deputy speaker were disrespected at Imran’s whim,” the minister alleged.