LONDON: After delaying his flight twice, Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif will now depart for Islamabad from London airport at 6pm on Sunday.
PM Shahbaz Sharif extended his stay in London as his hectic schedule took a toll on his health, family sources said.
The premier, who arrived in London a few days ago after attending the COP27 meeting in Egypt, was scheduled to leave for Pakistan on Friday, but postponed his departure by one day due to health issues.
PM Shahbaz developed a fever before leaving for the airport on Saturday and his family advised him not to travel, so he extended his stay for a second time, sources close to the Sharif family said.
Family sources further said that the younger Sharif could stay in London for two more days.
It should be noted that PM Shahbaz held several meetings with PML-N supremo and his elder brother Nawaz Sharif during his stay in London. The meetings were mostly focused on the country's politics and the appointment of a new army chief.
Earlier on Friday, in a setback, PM Shahbaz's request for an indefinite adjournment in the Daily Mail defamation case has been denied by a court in the United Kingdom.
Justice Matthew Nicklin heard the case, according to British media, which also reported that the court denied more time to the applicant, PM Shahbaz, whose hands are full with the PTI's long march.
The PM’s counsels, in their reply to the court, said the prime minister was currently engaged in professional responsibilities and the court was requested that he be granted time to submit the answers.
To this, Justice Nicklin said, "in his court, the prime minister and the common man are equal”, as per media reports.
If PM Shahbaz and his son-in-law Ali Imran fail to respond to Daily Mail’s lawyers in court, they would have to pay the defendant all the cost of the legal proceedings.
In 2019, the prime minister served a legal notice on the British daily and its journalist David Rose for blaming him for misappropriating public funds.
“The article is gravely defamatory of PM Shahbaz, including false allegations that he misappropriated UK taxpayers’ money in the form of Department for International Development (DFID) aid intended for the victims of the devastating 2005 earthquake in Pakistan. PM Shahbaz denies these allegations,” the legal notice said.
At a hearing in a London court, Justice Nicklin ruled that PM Shahbaz's lawyer will have to deposit £30,000 by November 23 after his lawyers applied unilaterally to the court to withdraw the stay application in favour of the trial proceedings to go ahead.
PM Shahbaz's lawyers at Carter Ruck made this move after he was cleared in the money-laundering case by a court in Pakistan but the application for stay at the London High Court was made much earlier than that.
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