Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is going to London on a private trip to meet his older brother and former premier Nawaz Sharif for political consultations, it emerged on Tuesday.

Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb told the media that the Prime Minister would be part of a group of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leaders who would travel to the UK for meeting with the party supremo Nawaz Sharif.

“PML-N members are going on a private visit to London to meet with Nawaz Sharif,” she said, adding that PM Shehbaz would also be travelling for this purpose.

She underplayed the hype created by the News TV channels about the visit by saying that it was a private visit being undertaken with the purpose of holding consultations with the elder Sharif.

The composition of the delegation was not announced but Dawn News quoted a source in London as saying that the premier would be travelling with five or six ministers late on Tuesday so that he could arrive by tomorrow morning.

Three-time premier Nawaz Sharif, 72, against whom several corruption cases were launched by the government of former prime minister Imran Khan, had left for London in November 2019 after the Lahore High Court granted him four-week permission to go abroad for his heart treatment.

Source said Shehbaz would remain in London for two to three days to meet Nawaz. However, the source was not privy to the names of the people who would be accompanying the prime minister.

The Express Tribune reported, quoting the party insiders, that Nawaz Sharif summoned an emergency meeting of the party leaders to discuss matters related to the economy and prevailing political situation of the country among crucial issues facing the country.

The insiders further said the ruling party is expected to make some big decisions’ regarding the fate of the coalition government led by PML-N, according to the paper.

The key meeting would take place as ousted prime minister Imran Khan has increased pressure on the government with back-to-back big rallies in order to force the government to announce early elections.

He has also announced to launch a protest march toward Islamabad after May 20 to achieve his objective of early elections.

Khan was removed in April through a no-trust vote but refused to accept his defeat and instead accused Shehbaz Sharif and other opposition leaders as traitors for allegedly cooperating with the US to dislodge his government.

The consultations in London may try to find a way to tackle the political and economic challenges. Khan, 69, who was removed from office in early April through a Parliament vote, accused the US of conspiring to dislodge his government, citing communication from the country’s ambassador in Washington.

The US government has bluntly denied the allegations multiple times. PML-N leader Shehbaz, 70 assumed the office of the prime minister on April 11. The term of the current House ends in August, 2023.

Nawaz Sharif was removed from power in 2017 after a decision by the Supreme Court against him. He was later convicted separately in two corruption cases in 2018.

Sharif was given a 10-year prison sentence for owning property in London called the Avenfield case, but was released two months later when the court suspended the sentences, pending a final judgement.

But in December 2018 he was jailed for corruption again, this time for seven years, related to his family’s ownership of steel mills in Saudi Arabia called the Al-Azizia Steel Mills case.

In both cases, he failed to provide the money trail to procure these foreign assets. Sharif was in jail when allowed to go to London for four weeks for medical treatment but never came back.

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