LAHORE - The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leadership is planning to accord a red-carpet welcome to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on his arrival after his successful open-heart surgery in London, but the decision has yet to be finalised in accordance with his landing date and time.

The physicians of the prime minister have found him fit for air travel and now it is up to the PML-N in the country to finalise the date of landing. At present, different proposals are under discussion of the party leadership and action on any of them would be taken in view of the convenience of the prime minister, primarily keeping in view his physical state as just one month ago he underwent open heart surgery.

The prime minister is facing no problem in visiting London eateries with his family members and doing Eid shopping after the operation, which amply demonstrates his recovery.

At the party level, four options are on the table about the return of the prime minister. The first relates to his landing in the country before Eid in Islamabad without making much of the show. The second is about his landing after Eid in Lahore, the political home ground of the PML-N. If the PM lands in Lahore, he will be taken to Raiwind in a big procession of the party workers and leaders. The third option is his arrival in Lahore on Eid day and proceeding to Raiwind somewhat in a low-profile manner. The fourth option is landing in Lahore after Eid, his address to the party workers at the airport and then proceeding to Raiwind in a helicopter.

Some party cadres favour the second option to gain political mileage to counter the opposition’s protest show in Lahore against the ruling family on the Panama leaks after it has moved the Election Commission of Pakistan to seek disqualification of its five members in the assembly. They argue that a huge rally would yield a big political dividend and demoralise the opponents. However, action on this option would be taken after the prime minister’s approval as he will have to spend hours among the public in the sweltering weather of the city, said the party insiders.

The option of his landing in the city, addressing the party workers at the airport and proceeding to Raiwind in a helicopter is gaining acceptance.

Sources say preparations at the party level are underway; a committee consisting of ministers has been formed to make arrangements and mobilise the public soon after a final decision is made, possibly within two to three days. July 10 is being considered as the date for the arrival of the prime minister, but a final announcement in this regard will be made by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar or Maryam Nawaz Sharif.

The party workers in the city are much excited and looking forward to the return of the prime minister.