Nirupama Subramanian

ISLAMABAD: Amid questions by friends and opponents alike about why former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in London continues to drag his feet despite a Supreme Court order that the government must not hinder his return to Pakistan, his party, the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) has recommended to him that he must come back by September 10.

“He asked us to suggest a date to him and he announced to the international media that he will consult us to plan his return, so we have recommended to him that he should return by September 10,” said Raja Zafrul Haq, chairman of the PML (N) after the party central working committee held an emergency meeting on Saturday.

The date has been chosen keeping in mind that the re-election of President Pervez Musharraf has to take place between September 15 and October 15, if he decides to go ahead with it against increasing advice.

Election notification

The attorney-general of Pakistan said on Friday the election notification would be issued on September 1.

Mr. Sharif relocated to London two years ago from Saudi Arabia, where he went in exile.

Meanwhile, a few heads rolled on Saturday for the mess that the Musharraf regime has found itself in since its ill-fated March 9 move to sack Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhary.

Law Minister Wasi Zafar was replaced by Zahid Hamid, and the Federal Law Wecretary resigned on Friday, while the Chief Commissioner of Islamabad and the City Inspector-General of Police were also replaced.

Though no reasons were given, the two officials were perceived as accountable for the manhandling of the Chief Justice in March.