Another top PML-N figure predicts Nawaz's return.

LAHORE / LONDON -- As Rana Sanaullah arrived in London for a much-anticipated meeting with his party's supreme leader-in-exile, Punjab Governor Balighur Rehman on Wednesday joined the ranks of those predicting Nawaz Sharif's return to Pakistan 'within a month'.

'Nawaz Sharif is returning to Pakistan within a month and I will go to the airport to receive him,' the governor claimed in a chat with journalists, adding that PML-N chief organiser Maryam Nawaz, too, would be back within a week.

While PML-N leaders Rana Sanaullah, Ayaz Sadiq, Javed Latif, Attaullah Tarar and Malik Ahmad had earlier predicted their leader's return, especially in the wake of dissolution of Punjab and Kyber Pakhtunkhwa assemblies, the governor reiterated these claims even as the interior minister boarded a commercial flight to the UK to meet the Sharifs at Stanhope House, the party's de facto headquarters in London.

The governor's claim of Nawaz's return within a month speaks to the 'uneasiness' in party ranks over his long absence as the local leadership believes the party may develop cracks if Nawaz does not return.

Rana Sanaullah to meet party supremo in London today

The ex-premier and his daughter have been in the UK since November 2019 and October 2022, respectively, for different medical reasons.

'In the face of the rising popularity of the PTI chairman who was ousted as the prime minister in last April, most of PML-N local leadership is unanimous that the party needs Nawaz to be in Pakistan ahead of the polls if it wants to score a victory, especially in Punjab that was once the party's stronghold,' a PML-N leader from Punjab told Dawn.

Rana Sanaullah, who had earlier claimed that Nawaz would return 'once relief in the cases he was facing was ensured', believed he would get bail ahead of his return. Besides filing a bail plea in coming days, the PML-N-led coalition may go for 'relevant legislation' in the parliament to ease his return. 'The coalition government may make certain amendments that would help repeal the ban imposed on Nawaz...

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