Ummeed-e-Pakistan: Nawaz leaves London; to return home via Mecca, Medina, and Dubai, on Oct 21
New Delhi: Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, a top businessman, and politician who has served Pakistan as its Prime Minister for three non-consecutive terms, is set to return home on October 21 from a four-year-long self-exile in London.
Sharif will reach Pakistan on a chartered plane from Dubai.
The chartered flight he booked has been named Ummeed-e-Pakistan, which can carry approximately 150 passengers, Geo News reported.
“The booking has been made and all arrangements are in place,” the report said.
The 73-year-old former PM will lead his political outfit, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), in the General Elections to the National Assembly, likely to be held in January 2024.
But he is not flying back directly from the UK to Pakistan.
Sharif will leave London for Saudi Arabia on October 11 (Wednesday) to perform the Umrah pilgrimage before returning to Pakistan, Senator Irfan Siddiqui told journalists. The PML-N supremo will also spend time with his son Hussain Sharif during his stay in the Saudi Kingdom.
“I don’t have any reports of his meeting with the Saudi royal family…But he will perform Umrah, spend time with his son … most of his stay would be in Medina,” Siddiqui said.
On October 21, he will leave Dubai for Pakistan.
The former PM is returning home when Pakistan is beset with numerous crises.
The biggest of these are political instability and economic crisis.
Sharif’s bete noire and former PM, Imran Khan, and several of his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party leaders are in jail, and the main opposition party is in disarray.
The South Asian country is nearly bankrupt and largely surviving on doles from abroad. Its domestic economy has almost collapsed with inflation hovering around 35 to 40 percent. It is facing an acute crisis of essential commodities, as unemployment is rising by the day. Even its donors, such as Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and China, have almost stopped helping it out of the morass.
Apart from the poor economy, Pakistan is facing civil war-like situations across the country because of the political meltdown and the gun culture. Its all-powerful army is still ruling the roost while terror infrastructure has all but collapsed. Even the Taliban, which Islamabad created, trained, financed, sponsored, and supported for decades, is attacking its Afghanistan border areas with impunity and ridiculing the Pakistan Army for its abject surrender to India in 1971.
Amid multiple uncertainties, Pakistan is being run by a relatively unknown politician, Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar, who took the oath of office as the 8th caretaker Prime Minister of Pakistan on August 14, 2023, to oversee the due elections in January 2024.