HARIPUR: Vowing to sweep the next general elections, head of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz Nawaz Sharif on Saturday said the 2018 elections would be a referendum on the Supreme Court verdict.
Addressing a huge public gathering at the Curtis Ground in Haripur, the deposed prime minister said three days ago, his political rivals had gathered on a single platform to hurl allegations at him but the people of Lahore showed them their real worth. He said the opposition's show ended in a flop.
His daughter Maryam Nawaz and other party leaders were also present on the occasion. Haripur and rest of Hazara Division has been a stronghold of the Nawaz Sharif-led PML-N and he had also contested election from Abbottabad.
Nawaz Sharif said that the man who targeted everyone with abuses and allegations would one day go to jail. He lamented that the PTI chief Imran Khan was not punished by the courts although he admitted to be the owner of an offshore company.
Criticising Imran Khan’s diatribe against the Parliament, Nawaz Sharif said that he was cursing the assemblies for which he was contesting elections and from where he got his salary.
Lashing out at the “Billion Tree Tsunami” project of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government, he asked the gathering about it. The people replied that they have not seen even one single sapling being planted. He impressed upon the people to ask the "Ladla" how many hospitals, universities and other facilities he had set up in his province. Instead he had closed down a number of facilities in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Nawaz Sharif added
Nawaz Sharif thanked the people of Haripur for gathering in a large number to listen to him. He said the public meeting in Haripur is even bigger than the one that he addressed in Kot Momin. He termed the public rally at Haripur as a referendum. “I would like to thank you for giving me the honour,” he said, adding he would continue to serve the public throughout his life.
Narrating the details of the Panama Papers case, he said he was disheartened as an “Iqama” was made an excuse to disqualify him. “Not a single penny of corruption and embezzlement was proved against me in the case,” he insisted.
Asking the participants whether they accepted the court’s disqualification orders against him, Nawaz Sharif said that the apex court’s judgment was an insult to the millions of voters. The former premier said the people elected him with the power of their vote but the five-member bench disqualified him. In his address, Sharif vowed that the opponents of country's development would be defeated in the upcoming polls.
The PML-N opted not to hold its public meeting at the traditional ground with limited space inside the town but in a huge ground with a capacity of accommodating hundreds of thousands people. The ground was jam packed with a charged crowd that chanted slogans in favour of Nawaz Sharif and against the judicial verdict. Rose petals were showered over the gathering by a helicopter when Nawaz Sharif reached the rendezvous.
Former prime minister turned emotional as he saw the huge crowd that was chanting a slogan “We love you, Nawaz Sharif.” Nawaz Sharif was upbeat and took on his opponents with harsh remarks but he chose not to take name of his arch rival Imran Khan of PTI but referred to him as the ‘Adalti Ladla’ (judiciary's favourite).
He ridiculed the opposition and while firing broadside at them, he said all those who abused one another and did not want to see one another’s face gathered on one platform in Lahore only to conspire against him and to ward of their imminent defeat in the general elections. “Where was the politics and diplomacy then,” Nawaz questioned the opposition parties.
Nawaz reminded the people of his commitment during the last election campaign to build the Hazara Motorway, saying he has achieved it which would bring them great facilities and make travel easier. “I visited the Motorway during its construction several times and thanked Allah when it was completed.” He said Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi invited him to its inauguration, but he stayed back despite his desire since he was satisfied at accomplishing yet another promise he had made with the people of Hazara. At this, gathering started raising slogan “Faisla Namanzoor- Faisla Namanzoor” (judgment is unacceptable).
Nawaz Sharif termed the Haripur gathering as a referendum over the Supreme Court verdict. “Come and see what the masses say regarding your verdict,” he added. In a sarcastic tone, the former premier said that he saluted the judges who declared Imran Khan as Sadiq (truthful) and Ameen (trustworthy). The fellow had lied in the court on a number of occasions and on various counts. The people have discarded him.
He recalled that "Ladla" had vowed to bring a number of changes to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa but failed to fulfill any of his promises. Nawaz Sharif while referring to Hazara Motorway said that he was busy in serving the people but he was stopped. He said now he would foil all such moves.
Nawaz Sharif said that he had consigned the power load shedding of 22 to 22 hours to the dustbin of history. He said he brought peace and harmony to Karachi. He said he overcame terrorism and above all the CPEC became a reality. “We served the people and are doing politics of public welfare but unfortunately the adversaries are engaged in abusing and foul-mouthing about me and hurling baseless allegations.” Nawaz said the man making tall claims of bringing change should be asked how much electricity had he generated in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Sharif said that the people would upturn the judgment of ‘disqualification’ in the next polls and he would ensure the sanctity of vote. Sharif also announced first part of his election manifesto informally by assuring the people that he would provide shelter to everyone who did not have a house. “The amount that the people pay as rent now would become installment of the price of the house and this way they would become the owner of their respective houses in five to ten years,” he said.
Speaking on the occasion, Maryam Nawaz, also criticised PTI chief Imran Khan over his anti-Parliamentary remarks in Lahore. She said cursing the Parliament is tantamount to cursing the nation, adding Imran’s remarks reflect his frustration. She claimed the PML-N would return successful in the 2018 general election. She said the battalion of conspirators had faced defeat in Lahore.
Capt (retd) Muhammad Safdar, Senator Abbas Khan Afridi, Pir Sabir Shah and Dr Syed Asif Saeed Kirmani also addressed the public gathering.