Lahore: Pakistan Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said on Friday that the party has begun preparations to “welcome” former premier Nawaz Sharif, as his return would tip the results in the party’s favour if an election were to be held in Punjab, a media report said.
“We have begun preparations to welcome Nawaz from today,” the minister – who is also the PML-N’s provincial president – said at a press conference in Lahore alongside Punjab Information Secretary Azma Bokhari, Dawn reported.
Nawaz has been living in London since November 2019 after he was allowed to leave the country for medical treatment.
Earlier this week, however, Nawaz – in an apparent effort to dispel the impression that the PML-N is “running away” from elections in Punjab and seemingly out of legal options to forestall a possible dissolution of the provincial assembly – directed Sanaullah to begin homework for shortlisting suitable candidates for polls, the media outlet reported.
In November, PTI chief Imran Khan had announced that his party would disassociate itself from the “current corrupt political system” by quitting the assemblies of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab.
Addressing Friday’s press conference, Sanaullah challenged the PTI chief to dissolve the Punjab Assembly, saying: “We have decided to fight and prepare for the elections.”
He said the “PML-N has taken decisions” and would meet later on the day to implement them.
Sanaullah further said that the PML-N supremo’s return would decide the results of the election in Punjab and predicted that the PTI would face defeat. “We are democratic people and are in favour of letting assemblies complete their tenure. But we are not afraid of PTI’s harmless threats.”