Pakistan’s former prime minister Nawaz Sharif claims the country’s powerful former military and spy chiefs orchestrated his overthrow in 2017, when he was forced to resign after being found guilty of corruption.
ISLAMABAD – Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif claims the country’s powerful former military and spy chiefs orchestrated his overthrow in 2017, when he was forced to resign after being convicted of corruption.
Sharif spoke to leaders of his party, the Pakistan Muslim League, on Monday via video link from London, where he has lived in self-imposed exile since 2019.
At the time, and although he was convicted on corruption charges, something he has always denied, the government of Imran Khan, who succeeded him as prime minister, allowed Sharif to leave Pakistan to receive medical treatment abroad. After Sharif failed to return, a court declared him a fugitive from justice.
After Khan was ousted in a no-confidence motion in April 2022, Sharif’s younger brother Shehbaz Sharif served as prime minister until August, when he resigned to allow an interim government to run daily affairs and organize elections. .
In his remarks to party officials on Monday, Nawaz Sharif alleged that former army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa and former spy chief Faiz Hameed conspired with two judges to remove him.
He offered no evidence for his claim and there was no immediate comment from the military, intelligence agency or judiciary.
Sharif’s daughter, Maryam Nawaz, also a Pakistan Muslim League official, told a party meeting at a hotel in the eastern city of Lahore on Monday that her father’s return would be “historic.”
“Nawaz Sharif’s comebacks have been stronger than his setbacks. Another one is developing,” he wrote Tuesday on X, a platform formerly known as Twitter.
As a fugitive from justice, Sharif would have to be arrested under the law, but it is unclear if that will happen. His lawyers have not asked the court for protection against his arrest.
It is also unclear whether he will have to serve his prison sentence once he returns.
Pakistan has been in deep political turmoil since Khan’s ouster last year. The Pakistan Muslim League is hugely unpopular and Shehbaz Sharif’s government has been unable to contain spiraling inflation.
The party wants Nawaz Sharif to lead its election campaign. The vote was expected to be held in November but is likely to be delayed as the election watchdog says it needs more time to redraw electoral districts to reflect the census.
Under Shahbaz Sharif’s government, Khan was convicted of corruption and is now serving his three-year prison sentence. However, he remains the main opposition figure in Pakistan and enjoys a large following, along with his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party.