Nawaz Sharif set to return as PML-N chief on October 3

The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has convened a meeting of its general council on Oct 2 and 3to formally begin the process of re-electing ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif as the party president, Dawn reported on Saturday.

PML-N central information secretary and Minister for Climate Change Mushahidullah Khan said on Friday that Mr Sharif was unlikely to leave for London till he was re-elected as the party chief. He added that separate meetings of the PML-N’s central working committee (CWC) and general council — a 1,600-strong electorate — had been summoned to elect the party’s central leadership.

Earlier, there had been reports that the ousted prime minister would fly to London on Thursday to inquire after his wife, Begum Kulsoom, who is undergoing treatment for cancer at a private hospital in the United Kingdom.

National Assembly scheduled to pass electoral reforms bill the same day

Begum Kulsoom was on Friday discharged from the hospital where she was admitted after her condition deteriorated three days ago.

In a tweet, Maryam Nawaz said her mother returned home and her further treatment would begin next week.

“Shukar Alhamdolillah Ami is better, discharged from the hospital & back home. Her further treatment including chemotherapy starts next week,” she tweeted.

Mushahidullah said: “Since Begum Kulsoom’s condition has stabilised, Mr Sharif has no plans to leave for London before Oct 3.”

The first meeting of the council would be held at the Islamabad Convention Centre on Oct 2 after a meeting of the CWC earlier in the morning to amend the PML-N constitution that also barred a disqualified person from holding any party office, he said, adding that the second session would be held on Oct 3 to elect a new party president.

He insisted that all legal hurdles in the way of Sharif re-assuming his role as party chief would be removed by Oct 3, and he would take over his former role.

Sharif had relinquished the position of PML-N chief after his ouster from power under the July 28 verdict of the Supreme Court in the Panama Papers case.

The Representation of Peoples Act 1976 bars anyone who is ineligible to become a member of parliament from holding office in a political party. Ever since the Supreme Court’s verdict, the PML-N has been run by its acting president Sardar Muhammad Yaqoob Khan Nasar, a senator from Balochistan.

The bar is, however, being removed through the Electoral Reforms Bill 2017 passed by the National Assembly on Aug 22 and the Senate, with some amendments, a month later on Sept 22.

The Bill has now been referred back to the lower house of parliament to pass the amended draft law.

“As a session of the National Assembly has been convened for Oct 2 to pass the amendments made by the Senate in the Electoral Reforms Bill, the meetings of the CWC and general council have been scheduled accordingly to re-elect Mian Nawaz Sharif sahib as the party president,” the minister told Dawn over the phone from Islamabad.

According to the parliamentary calendar, the National Assembly was originally scheduled to meet on Oct 6.

Khan added that in the meantime Sharif would continue to appear before court(s) in the National Accountability Bureau references.

A NAB court has summoned the ex-PM on Oct 2 to indict him in a graft case.

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