FAISALABAD/ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Quaid Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday said Pakistan belonged to 220 million people and a few persons could not be allowed to impose monopoly on the country.
The ousted prime minister vowed not to concede defeat. “I'm not the one to back down. I will not back down from my principles. I will continue to fight,” he said. Nawaz asked the people not only to vote for him but also play their role to protect its sanctity. “I maybe in any part of Pakistan but you should rise against the injustices when I will give you a call,” he added.
Nawaz said the cases instituted against him were totally false and pledged that he would boldly face those, adding that the lies, on the basis of which he was disqualified, were being exposed daily in the courts. He demanded that the court proceedings should be telecast live on TV channels to let the people decide themselves.
He was addressing a mammoth gathering at the Municipal Football Stadium, Samundri. His daughter Maryam Nawaz and nephew Hamza Shahbaz also accompanied him during the visit, which was aimed at paying rich tributes to late MNA Chaudhry Muhammad Sharif on his fifth death anniversary.
Nawaz asked the people to rally behind him and help elect the nominees of PML-N in the general elections so that the future of the coming generations could be secured.
He said the people should reject those who were levelling baseless allegations against the PML-N. “Your decision to bring Nawaz Sharif into power after the 2018 general elections would be a wise choice as it would be the decision of 220 million people, not the Panama Papers case,” the three-timeprime minister said.
He asked the people to pledge that they would not allow anyone to disgrace the sanctity of vote so that nobody could insult their mandate. Nawaz said he and the people of Pakistan were unable to apprehend why a prime minister committed to the development, progress and prosperity of the country was being punished.
The former prime minister said he had served the people during his tenure with commitment and neither embezzled a single penny from the national exchequer nor received any kickbacks.
The menaces of terrorism and loadshedding were eliminated but the prime minister was expelled only on the frivolous allegations that he had not received pay from his own son, he remarked.
He said a number of fake cases had been made against him but they failed to prove corruption of even a single penny. He reached Samundri straight from the accountability court in Islamabad where he had attended 50 hearings so far, the three-time prime minister remarked.
He said after sacking him as the prime minister, he was also removed as the PML-N president, which was an open insult to the sanctity of votes of millions of people who had voted him into power.
Nawaz said he had taken a principled stance to stand up against these injustices and face the situation with courage. He paid tributes to thousands of people who had encouraged him on the GT Road after the July 28 judgment.
“Shahbaz Sharif has laid down a network of farm-to-market roads. He is also establishing hospitals, schools, colleges and universities. However, Pakistan will make progress only when the sanctity of vote is fully restored,” he said. He said the people of Faisalabad too would have Metro Bus and promised natural gas for Samundri.
On the occasion, Nawaz offered fateha for departed soul of late Chaudhry Sharif and consoled with his son MNA Shahbaz Babar. Earlier, Maryam Nawaz, in her brief address, asked the people not to allow anybody to disgrace their vote and to promise that they would support Nawaz.
She vowed not to let any conspiracies succeed against the ruling party. “There [have been] corruption allegations worth billions of rupees [against us], yet Nawaz was ousted over possession of iqama, for not taking salary from his son,” she lamented.
“Respecting the vote means respecting the people. Promise me that you will respect the vote and yourselves,” she said, adding that the people had taken responsibility for ensuring respect for their vote.
In his speech, Hamza too urged the people to vote for the PML-N candidates. Earlier in the day, Nawaz said the country after getting liberation from the British rule went under the dictatorship of military rulers.
Talking to the reporters inside the accountability court, he in a sarcastic manner said, “There is only one institution left in this country that should take care of all the matters.” “Now we don’t need either executive or legislature and the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) should administer everything,” he said.
“With a backlog of 1.8 million cases, the CJP is taking notice regarding quality of milk. People keep waiting generations after generations to get their cases adjudicated and I think that the judiciary needs to put its priorities right,” he maintained.
With Daniyal Aziz and Mushahid Hussain sitting at his rear bench, Nawaz said that those politicians who support martial law dictators, there should be 100 percent action against them. Those raising their hands in Parliament, gave indemnity to the martial law dictators, Nawaz said.
Talking about the NAB law, Nawaz said it was used to manipulate the 2002 elections. Previously, he had said that under the NAB law, members of his party were bullied and hounded to change their loyalties. And on Wednesday, he once again said NAB was keeping an eye over some politicians, adding that as soon as the assemblies were dissolved, the NAB would be in action once again. He said, “It is unfortunate that we could not repeal this law and there were certain reasons.”
At this point, Mushahid said one such effort was made but it couldn’t become fruitful. Nawaz, however, said there was a need to improve the accountability laws. “I think a better law should replace the current NAB law,” he said. Nawaz said that the political parties would resist if NAB might be used to pressurise the politicians. He added that all the laws formed during the tenure of dictators should be abolished.
While responding to a question that numerous objections have been raised to the new delimitations and there are apprehensions that the general elections 2018 may get delayed as rumours circulating everywhere, Nawaz Sharif said that he and his party will not tolerate any move to extend the tenure of government for caretaker set-up. General elections should not be postponed on the issue of delimitation. This precedent must not be set and his party will not accept any such step to extend the caretaker government under the doctrine of necessity.
Talking about the right of vote to overseas Pakistanis, Nawaz said that he is in favour that the overseas Pakistanis should get the right of vote. Talking about the Senate elections, Nawaz said some members changed their loyalties in dubious manner and a suspicious person had been made the Senate chairman. He said the prime minister should take notice of such horse-trading as to which people sold their votes.
Nawaz alleged that Asif Ali Zardari bought the Senate seats from Karachi. “Unfortunately, Imran and Zardari were involved in this malicious game. The law should take its course against those involved in buying and selling of votes.
“PTI Chairman Imran Khan, for decades, had been criticising Zardari calling him a Beemari (disease) but members of his party in Senate elections voted for the PPP candidates. At least there should be some principles in politics,” Nawaz said.
“The PTI supported the PPP deputy chairman and Imran Khan should tell that his party voted for PPP.” Nawaz said he did not know the inside story but Zardari’s attitude was shameful.
Responding to a question about the increase in loadshedding, Nawaz said everybody knew they installed plants generating thousands of megawatts of electricity. “If loadshedding is reoccurring, I will talk to the government to know about the reasons,” he said and added that during his four-year tenure, loadshedding had almost ended.
While Nawaz was talking about the issue of loadshedding, Maryam Nawaz intruded and said, “Who will work when the government officials remain busy facing courts.”
Responding to a question about the West Indies tour of Pakistan, Nawaz said for four years, they worked for peace and prosperity of this country. “If you compare the present situation with 2013, there is marked difference that is visible to the whole world,” he said.
Nawaz said that he wanted to go to London to see his ailing wife but the court did not allow him to go. Departing from the court after attending the court proceedings, Nawaz Sharif criticised the superior judiciary for its double standards and said that the Supreme Court should have penalised Imran Khan for forgery in the Banigala residence documents; on the other hand, it regularised the construction. “This is the state of affairs, it shows what is happening with us and with the darling,” Nawaz said.