Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visit to Britain — ostensibly to undergo a pending medical check-up — has set political circles abuzz after he landed in controversy following the Panama Papers leak
Sharif arrived in London on Wednesday for a three-day visit for a medical check-up.
Only close family members are with hin. His two sons — Hassan and Hussain — are already abroad.
At a time when Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf chairman Imran Khan is ready to launch a sit-in at Raiwind — home to Sharif’s palatial residence, leaders of the opposition in the senate had been casting doubt on the reason for the prime minister’s sudden visit to London.
The movements of Pakistan Peoples Party co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari, who is also in London, is being closely monitored by the media.
PPP senator Aitzaz Ahsan on Tuesday said: “Sharif has no medical issues and is only visiting London to present himself in the court of Zardari.” Whenever Sharif came under pressure, he always looked towards the PPP leadership for help, Ahsan said.
A senior PTI leader said it was very likely for Sharif to ask the PPP to bail him out, considering the pressure mounting on him for the investigation of his family regarding the leaks.
A Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz lawmaker admitted that there was a great deal of nervousness among the party’s top leaders following the revelation of documents in the Panama Papers leak.
Before departing, Sharif held a meeting with Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali and Punjab Chief Minister — and his brother — Shahbaz Sharif as well as other senior aides at Lahore’s Allama Iqbal Airport.
Sharif discussed with the aides the implications of the Panama Papers scandal and the current political situation in the country, Dawn online quoted sources as saying.
“It’s just a personal visit and Sharif will not hold political meetings during his stay in London,” said Asif Kirmani, the prime minister’s political secretary.
Sharif’s daughter Maryam Nawaz, who is tipped to take over the reins of the party in the future, posted a photo of the prime minister before leaving the country.
“Nawaz will spend one week in London and would also visit doctors for medical treatment,” added Kirmani.
Meanwhile, President Mamnoon Hussain has left for Istanbul on a three-day visit to attend an Organisation of Islamic Cooperation conference.