The “Lion” Has Landed: Nawaz Sharif Returns to Pakistan

Nawaz Sharif arrived at Lahore’s Allama Iqbal International Airport this evening local time. Despite the arrests of 1,800 PML-N workers, thousands have gathered at the airport to greet the deposed Pakistani prime minister. Nawaz addressed the crowd, denying that he came to Pakistan on the basis of any deal. GEO reports that he announced that his party will run in the upcoming elections, while PTV quotes him as stating that the decision will be made by the All-Parties Democratic Movement (APDM) — an oppositional alliance headed by Sharif’s party. The APDM announced yesterday that it will boycott the elections if the government does not “lift the state of emergency and withdraw the Provisional Constitution Order, restore the Constitution and the pre-PCO judiciary and release all political activists, lawyers and judges.”

However, the PML-N will likely submit their nominations for elections tomorrow. After all, that is why Nawaz, Shahbaz, and Kulsoom have returned today — tomorrow is the deadline for turning in nomination papers. They can withdraw their nominations by December 15.

Should the Sharif brothers attempt to run in the elections, they will incur some major roadblocks. Both have convictions that likely make them ineligible for elections.

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Arif Rafiq, a Washington, DC-based consultant on Middle East and South Asian political and security issues. [About]

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