An unpublicised agreement between Nawaz Sharif and the Saudi Arabian government that provided for the former Pakistani Premier to stay away from active politics in return for the dropping of criminal charges against him is set to expire in the next 12 days. And the country is agog with speculation what steps the PML-N strongman will take once his commitment is over.
The agreement, signed by Mr. Sharif and the Saudi royal family, was valid for 10 years and barred him from taking part in active politics during this period.
Sources said the pact would end on December 2.
It was following this pact in 2000 that the former President, Pervez Musharraf, dropped the charges levelled against the PML-N chief and allowed him and his family to go into exile in Saudi Arabia.
General (retired) Musharraf had seized power in a military coup in October 1999 by ousting the government headed by Mr. Sharif.
Though Mr. Sharif and the PML-N have denied the existence of such an agreement, sources said that the PML-N chief's taking a backset in recent years were indications that he was influenced by the commitment.
Mr. Sharif returned to Pakistan in late 2007, when General Musharraf's regime began losing its grip on power. He chose not to contest the 2008 general election and subsequently withdrew his nomination papers for by-polls to a parliamentary seat in Lahore this year.
The sources said this was a clear indication of his “commitment to the pledge he made to the Saudis”. — PTI