WPK sharif-1670422082714
Nawaz Sharif will return to the country next month and award party tickets to those aspiring to contest the polls for the Punjab Assembly seats. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

ISLAMABAD: Former Prime Minister and Leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Nawaz Sharif will return to Pakistan in January to lead the electoral campaign in Punjab in case the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid’s (PML-Q) ruling coalition decides to dissolve the provincial assembly.

According to the former Speaker of the National Assembly and Federal Minister for Economic Affairs, Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, Nawaz Sharif will return to the country next month and award party tickets to those aspiring to contest the polls for the Punjab Assembly seats.

2023: A year of elections

The Year 2023 is a year of general elections in Pakistan and ex-PM Imran Khan is insisting the elections should be held in March while the PML-N and allies have announced October is the month of elections according to the constitutional requirement. However, the party, in view of impending dissolution of assemblies in the two provinces Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) where Imran’s party is in power, is considering plan B i.e. to contest elections in these provinces.

Recently, we have received a large number of requests by not only the party leaders but the general public also urging the elder Sharif to return and face the challenge posed by Imran Khan, said Ayaz Sadiq in a TV interview.

PML-N provincial heads to meet on Friday

Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah, who is also the provincial president of PML-N, will preside over the party’s provincial chapter meeting on Friday in Model Town to review preparations for elections.

According to the PML-N Punjab’s Information Secretary Azma Bukhari, the meeting has been called on the directions of the elder Sharif to initiate shortlisting of suitable candidates for elections in case the Punjab Assembly was dissolved.

Earlier, the ruling party was giving mixed signals whether it would go to the polls or not in case the Assembly is dissolved.

However, after a clear message from the leadership, the party has made up its mind to face eventuality in case both the Punjab and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) assemblies are dissolved.

Earlier, the party was against holding elections and claimed it wanted to save the assemblies owing to constitutional, economic and law & order reasons.

Suleman Shehbaz returns

Suleman Shehbaz Sharif, the younger son of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has left for Pakistan after ending his exile of over four years in London. On Wednesday, en route to Pakistan, he reached Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah. He will be landing in Pakistan on Saturday along with his wife and children.

Suleman was in London ahead of the 2018 general elections when the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) registered several cases against him.

Suleman, along with his father, the current prime minister, his brother Hamza Shehbaz, and other Sharif family members were also named in several cases.