LONDON – In a significant political move, Raja Riaz, the former leader of the opposition in the National Assembly, has announced his affiliation with the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). This decision came after a pivotal meeting with the party’s supremo, Nawaz Sharif, in London.
Riaz, addressing the media prior to his meeting with the PML-N leadership, hinted at his intentions to contest the forthcoming general elections representing Faisalabad. While he indicated that discussions regarding this would take place with Nawaz Sharif, he also mentioned that a final decision might not be immediate.
Highlighting the PML-N’s strong presence in Pakistan, Riaz stated that the party has a vast voter base, with many believing that the nation was built by PML-N’s efforts. He also expressed anticipation for the grand welcome Nawaz Sharif would receive upon his return to Pakistan. It’s worth noting that Sharif has been in self-imposed exile in London since November 2019 due to health concerns and was disqualified in 2017 by the Supreme Court.
Riaz’s shift to PML-N is particularly noteworthy given his previous association with the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). He secured a seat in the National Assembly on a PTI ticket in the 2018 general elections. However, his membership was terminated in August 2023 for breaching party discipline. It is also pertinent to mention that Riaz had been with the PPP for 35 years before joining PTI in May 2016.
During the meeting in London, other prominent PML-N leaders, including former prime minister Shehbaz Sharif and ex-finance minister Ishaq Dar, were also present. Riaz expressed his trust in Nawaz Sharif’s leadership, marking a new chapter in his political journey.