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June 27,2018

Nawaz says rigged elections will harm Pakistan

Murtaza Ali Shah & Wadood Mushtaq

LONDON: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Nawaz Sharif has said that rigged and manipulated elections will be horrible for the future of Pakistan and everything must be done to ensure that the elections next month are held in a free and fair atmosphere.

Speaking for the first time on Pakistani politics in nearly two weeks, since his arrival in London a day before Eid, the former PM feared that a hostile climate has been created for his supporters.

Speaking about the arrest of Raja Qamarul Islam, the PML-N’s candidate against Chaudhry Nisar, by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Nawaz Sharif said that his arrest was “unfortunate” and “such actions create doubts and anxieties”.

“If elections are rigged and not held in a free and fair atmosphere, then it will create further problems and instability in the country in future. It’s best that the elections are held free and fair.”

Nawaz said that arrests and harassment of his workers aren’t the way forward. He said that Raja Qamarul Islam got a “clean chit” a few days ago from the NAB but then he was arrested.

“His arrest is an indication of what’s happening. Even a common man can tell what’s happening, ordinary people can tell that something wrong is happening and that’s not right. These things create concerns. Not only that such action should be avoided but should never happen.”

When asked about his absence from the election process in Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif said that he came to London to spend 3-4 days with his cancer-patient wife Kalsoom Nawaz but learnt upon landing in London that she had suffered a cardiac arrest.

“I want to go back and participate in elections. I have attended nearly 100 NAB court appearances so that the cases against me should reach to some conclusion. I came to London for 3-4 days for Eid but what has happened is Allah’s will, I came here with different intention but now I have to stay here because of her situation. She is still on the ventilator. Her situation hasn’t changed much.”

When asked about reports in western press about the alleged rigging of elections, Nawaz Sharif said that the whole world is witnessing what’s happening. “We shouldn’t make a laughing stock of ourselves because whenever elections have been rigged, results have been horrible for our country. We need to avoid that, said Nawaz Sharif adding that what’s being reported is reflective of what’s happening in Pakistan. “Not only Pakistan but the whole world is watching.”


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