Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, who is en route to New York for the UN General Assembly session, has arrived in London where the ruling PML-N is holding a party meeting to finalise key decisions, including the one on the appointment of the next chief of army staff (COAS), local media reported.
The prime minister and his entourage landed at the Luton airport where he was received by Pakistan Ambassador to the UK Moazam Ali Khan. He then left for London accompanied by federal ministers Marriyum Aurangzeb and Khawaja Asif.
During a PML-N meeting under Nawaz Sharif, consultations will be held on the key November decision while the no-confidence motion in Punjab will also be discussed, Samaa TV reported.
Nawaz Sharif will also be briefed on recent contacts with Asif Ali Zardari and Maulana Fazlur Rehman, it said.
Earlier, Federal Minister Khurram Dastgir categorically said that the prime minister will appoint the next COAS in consultation with Nawaz Sharif.
Before leaving for New York, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said that the next COAS will be appointed by the prime minister in November as provided by the Constitution. The procession for the appointment has not started yet, he said.
Asif also ruled out the possibility of snap elections.
Shehbaz Sharif will attend the 77th General Assembly session where he is expected to make an appeal for flood relief aid.
Speaking at the Noor Khan airbase in Rawalpindi, Shehabz Sharif said that the government had already distributed Rs 30 billion out of Rs 70 billion allocation among the flood victims.
Pakistan accountability courts withdraw major corruption cases against PM Shehbaz Sharif
In a major development, accountability courts have withdrawn 50 major corruption cases against suspects, including cases against Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, local media reported.
The relief has been provided in line with the amendments in the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) laws.
Accordingly, cases against the Prime Minister, former chief minister Punjab Hamza Shahbaz, National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervez Ashraf, and former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gillani have also been returned to NAB by the accountability courts, Geo News reported.
The Ramzan Sugar Mill reference against the Prime Minister and son Hamza is also among the cases sent back. NAB had filed this reference in 2019, alleging that the two suspects "fraudulently and dishonestly" caused a Rs 213 million loss to the national exchequer.
Similarly, an accountability court returned six rental power plant (RPP) references against the NA speaker back to NAB. The bureau had alleged that Ashraf misused his powers in rental power projects being the minister for Water and Power during the PPP government.
The Universal Services Fund (USF) reference against PPP Senator Yousuf Raza Gillani in which he was accused of misusing authority in an illegal publicity campaign, was also returned, Geo News reported.
NAB references against Senator Saleem Mandviwala, former chief minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Sardar Mehtab Abbasi, and PPP Senator Rubina Khalid have also been returned.
Following the amendments of NAB rules, the references in Modaraba scams and company frauds have also been withdrawn from the accountability courts.
In August, the National Assembly passed the National Accountability (Second Amendment) Bill, 2022, which sought to exclude private transactions from the scope of NAB.
Under the amended bill, the pecuniary jurisdiction of NAB had been fixed to only take action against mega scandals. Furthermore, it had been proposed that supplementary references can only be filed with the permission of the court to expedite the proceedings of the court within one year.
As per the bill, the investigation officers shall not harass any person during the investigation or inquiry and they will confine their questions relevant to the investigation or inquiry or for extracting evidence.