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March 22, 2020

Corona crisis: Shahbaz returns to Pakistan after four months

Top Story

March 22, 2020

LONDON: Former Chief Minister of Punjab Shahbaz Sharif has said that he was returning to Pakistan on instructions of his brother and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif to be with the people of Pakistan at the time of corona crisis.

Shahbaz Sharif announced on Saturday that he had taken the decision due to the deteriorating condition of the coronavirus in Pakistan. A Sharif family source said that Nawaz Sharif will undergo a cardiac intervention surgery next week and Shahbaz Sharif wanted to be with him during the procedure but Nawaz Sharif directed him to be in Pakistan and use his expertise of dealing with the dengue and help deal with the corona crisis.

Shahbaz Sharif said: “I am returning to Pakistan on the direction of my leader Nawaz Sharif. I believe my services are needed in Pakistan at this time of crisis. Nawaz Sharif has asked me to help victims of the coronavirus and be among the masses during their time of need.”

The former Punjab chief minister was in London since 20th of November 2019. Shahbaz brought his brother Nawaz to London last year for medical treatment, after the former prime minister was allowed to fly abroad.

Pictures of the PML-N president surfaced on social media in which he was seen embracing his mother and brother Nawaz Sharif at the Avenfield apartments in London as he prepared to leave for Islamabad.

“Coronavirus has wreaked havoc in Pakistan and the world,” said Shahbaz. “I am coming back to Pakistan to be with the people.”

The PML-N president said that he was in London for his brother Nawaz’ medical treatment. However, Nawaz told him to return to Pakistan as that should be his priority. “I have decided to return to the country after Nawaz gave me permission to do so,” he said. “I am leaving for Pakistan today.”

He said that as Leader of the Opposition in National Assembly, it was his obligatory for him to return to Pakistan as soon as he could.

The PIA UK confirmed the PML-N president’s flight to Pakistan. The airline said that usually, PIA flights do not operate on Saturdays. However, due to the coronavirus and the ensuing commotion, this weekend the PIA was operating flights.

Pakistan on Saturday announced it was suspending international flights for two weeks owing to the coronavirus.

According to the government advisory shared by Moeed W Yousuf, the special assistant to the premier on national security, the suspension will be effective from March 21 to April 4.

The premier’s aide on security, while calling it a difficult decision, said that the ban is temporary and it does not include cargo and diplomats in Pakistan. “The government is taking this seriously. All our missions have been issued directions that whatever they can do to help they should do,” he said.