LONDON: Referring to the recent Contempt of Court Act 2012 passed by parliament and signed into law by President Asif Ali Zardari, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Mian Nawaz Sharif on Saturday asserted that the incumbent rulers were enacting new laws to protect their looted wealth and hide their own corruption.
The PML-N leader lashed out at the new contempt bill, and said the dishonest and corrupt leaders of the country had framed the law simply to give themselves a lifeline.
The former prime minister was addressing a select gathering of the Pakistani community in London on Saturday. PML-N leaders Zubair Gull, Syed Ghaus Ali Shah, Senator Mushahidullah, Javed Malik, Anusha Rehman and Tahira Aurangzeb also joined Nawaz Sharif at the press conference.
In response to a question posed by The News, Nawaz categorically denied assuring US Ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter that a PML-N government would be pro-US. He explained that he had simply said Pakistan should enjoy good relations with every nation, including India and the US, but this should be on the basis of equality. “I don’t know in what context Munter said that but it is important to remember that Bill Clinton brought a lot of pressure on me not to go nuclear but I didn’t care and did what was best for Pakistan. That will always remain our position.”
Describing the ruling coalition partners as “criminal partners” of the Pakistan People’s Party-led government, Nawaz Sharif maintained that they shared even more responsibility for the wretched state of affairs in the country, and advised the coalition allies to relinquish their support of the government.
The PML-N leader named the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Pakistan Muslim League-Q (PML-Q) led by the Chaudhrys of Gujrat, and Awami National Party (ANP) as power-hungry parties which ignored the “corruption, loot and plunder, mismanagement and criminality” of the PPP government, in order to hang on to the government for a few leftovers, at the cost of the national interest, and choosing not to upset those who had the “nation’s wealth” hidden away in Swiss accounts.
Nawaz claimed the current government had failed the proud nation of Pakistan on every account, and that it’s allies had little regard for the national interest and were providing a lifeline to the government by sticking around, knowing very well that “this government is morally bankrupt and corrupt.”
He asked the voters and workers to ask the top leadership of their respective parties as to why they were supporting the corrupt practices of the PPP.
The former premier rubbished the announcement of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) that it was reopening three cases against the Sharif brothers as a “bluff” and “political witch-hunt.” He said there was no “substance” in these cases, and if they had any merit then Pervez Musharraf would have brought them up himself. The PML-N leader was confident that the courts would clear them once independently probed, and said he had asked the court more than twice to look into these cases and see through the “lies.”
Commenting on the recently passed Contempt of the Court Bill, the PML-N chief said this bill was aimed at hiding the “”dirty deeds of the government because the supreme judiciary is taking notice of the corruption and criminality of the rulers and the rulers are so desperate that they want to hide behind desperate laws.”
“There is no sanity in this law. It would have been accepted if it had come from a government which enjoyed moral high grounds but everyone is aware that this law is to provide safeguard to the corruption of a few powerful,” he asserted.
Nawaz Sharif once again accused President Asif Ali Zardari of dishonouring the Charter of Democracy (CoD), which Benazir had signed with the PML-N leader to strengthen democracy in Pakistan, and thought that if Zardari had honoured the clauses of the CoD Pakistan today would have been in better shape with stronger institutions. “Pakistan needs a strong government to bring reforms and to end corruption but that’s not possible for as long as the PPP and its allies are involved in running the affairs of Pakistan,” he added.
Nawaz Sharif claimed he had shown character and leadership when he demanded that the MQM “hand over” Hakeem Saeed’s killer to the government despite the fact that the two were allies and his Sindh government’s survival lay in the alliance with the MQM. “We sacrificed our government but didn’t bow to the blackmail and didn’t sacrifice our principle. Governments can come and go but we will never compromise on principles and will keep the interest of Pakistan above every other consideration,” he held.
Nawaz Sharif recounted the projects that had started during his era, including the motorway, yellow cab scheme and atomic blasts “that made Pakistan’s defence impregnable.”
He said India used to act arrogantly towards Pakistan but when Pakistan went nuclear the Indian PM “came on a bus” to visit us, which was a proof that our decision to go nuclear had set new terms of engagements with India as well as the rest of the world. He said that was the time when Pakistan was fast on the path to becoming an “Asian tiger,” but then the enemies of Pakistan disrupted the path to progress when his government was ousted through a military coup.
He said that during his government Pakistan had considered exporting electricity to India, but sadly today there was no electricity in the country and the world was making a joke of a nuclear power without electricity.
“How can someone be considered capable of running the affairs of a state when he cannot keep his commitment and continues to change positions. Such people don’t deserve to rule Pakistan for a single day who have no sense of morality and righteousness. The track record of such people should always be a consideration,” he further claimed.
Nawaz Sharif also mocked Imran Khan and likened his “third-party” claim with that of Britain’s Liberal Democrats who had expected big gains during the last general election in Britain but had managed to scrape only a few seats. He said “Our Liberal Democrats will also find how difficult it is to win the trust of people with issues such as the governance of a country. They will meet the same fate come election.”
The PML-N leader said he would always regard the sacrifices rendered by the UK chapter during the years of exile, when the Sharifs had been forced into exile by former military leader Pervez Musharraf. “Our friends in London have been at the forefront of restoration of democracy in Pakistan. They even made exile a pleasant experience for us,” joked Nawaz.
He said he was in full favour of the right of dual nationals to become part of Pakistan’s political process, but was cynical about the recent dual nationality bill which he claimed had been introduced simply to save the skin of certain individuals. He also called on the government to take his party and others into confidence on this issue.
INP adds: Nawaz Sharif accused the ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and its coalition partners of trying to destroy the Supreme Court.
While speaking to media persons in London, Sharif said that democracy was being dealt with a blow through adopting the contempt of court laws. He added that the law was enacted to hide corruption and making few people unaccountable.
The PML-N chief added, “[The] PPP should not enact the law in a haste only to protect a handful of people, adding it should sit across on a table with us and other parties and prepare a law through collective wisdom.”
Nawaz said some people did not want to see Pakistan progressing, and called upon the government’s allies to part ways with the present regime in view of the manner in which it is dealing with the Supreme Court.
He said that sadly it had become a joke to violate the Constitution, and he accused the coalition of playing politics of interest. He added that another martial law could not be tolerated in the country.