LAHORE: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Monday said, “We as a nation will need to set the sanctity of people’s vote as our number one agenda to establish the Pakistan Jinnah and Iqbal had dreamt of”.
Addressing the media at Allama Iqbal's mausoleum, he said Pakistan was made through democratic, legal struggle and the power of vote; however after the death of Quaid-e-Azam and assassination of Liaqat Ali Khan, the country became hostage to ‘Doctrine of Necessity’ which led to dismemberment of Pakistan. “Had we respected and honoured the sanctity of vote, we wouldn't have seen the fall of Dhaka,” he noted.
“We are already late in understanding the crucial importance of upholding the sanctity and power of people’s vote. However, there still is time to reinstate the inviolability of vote and end this series of fiascos that demean the people’s vote lest we end up causing another national calamity,” Nawaz said.
The deposed prime minister said the time had come to bring Pakistan on the path of progress. “On the 70th Independence Day of Pakistan, we have to vow to always respect [public] votes,” he said.
Nawaz also said that independence could not be celebrated with fervour as the country was separated and added that Pakistan would have developed at a faster pace had Bangladesh still been a part of the country. “We are all celebrating this 70th Independence Day of our country but at heart we all feel part guilty because we could not establish the Pakistan Jinnah wanted. The past 70 years have been marred by chaos and in essence disenfranchised people,” he said.
He said the economic turmoil the country went through because of the entire Panama [Papers] conspiracy had hit the poorest in the country the worst. “It is a major setback and it is a difficult job getting the country back to the same pace of development but the PML-N government is striving hard to do so,” Nawaz said.
Nevertheless, the former premier said, his government still fulfilled their electoral promises. “A year was left in which we would have done more, we were also planning to bring down the rates of electricity and provide people with affordable justice," he added.
“We could see a sea of people who accompanied us to Lahore,” he said. “They had not come for nothing, they could see prosperity coming to Pakistan and that their basic necessities were being fulfilled,” he added.
Nawaz said it was imperative to establish the country of Jinnah. “Pakistan belongs to 200 million people and not a handful. We need a country where there is socioeconomic justice, a country where not a few have the right to their own house and wealth,” he stressed.
Agencies add: Nawaz vowed that he would go to any extent to uphold the sanctity of the ballot and the country’s Constitution. He touched upon promises that laid the base for his party’s next election campaign – providing the ordinary man access to justice and free housing for those who cannot afford it.
“The state should help the poor who do not have the money to face legal cases. A constitutional amendment is required for this which we will introduce. Whenever the next government is sworn in, we will keep this at the top of our agenda,” said Nawaz. “We will provide homes to those who cannot afford them. This is a wish I have held in my heart,” he said.