LAHORE: Pakistan Muslim League-N leader Nawaz Sharif, who’s serving a seven-year jail term in Al-Azizia Steel Mills corruption case, has said those leaving the party during hard times will never be taken back in the party folds.
In a meeting with the party leaders in Kot Lakhpat Jail on Thursday, he said one of his friends asked him to woo back the party leaders who left it lately. “I replied that there is no room for those who have left the party in trying times. They will never be allowed to rejoin our caravan now. Future is for those who are standing with me steadfastly,” the party supremo told the party leaders.
Nawaz directed the party PML-N leadership to complete party organisations at grass-roots level at the earliest to speed up the protest campaign by involving maximum number of people, PML-N Information Minister Azma Zahid Bukhari told The News.
Nawaz Sharif directed the party leadership to step up mass contact campaign, holding public meetings and rallies to mobilise public opinion against anti-people policies of the government.
“More Iftar parties should be held. Rallies and public meetings on Youm-e-Takbeer (May 28) should be held forcefully by mobilising maximum number of people,” he was quoted as telling the party leaders.
The family members of Nawaz Sharif and many senior leaders visited him in jail including his daughter Maryam Nawaz, his mother, other relatives, physicians, and leaders including former premier Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Khwaja Asif, Khurram Dastgir Khan, Sadia Khaqan Abbasi, Rana Sanaullah Khan, Asif Kirmani, Saira Afzal Tarar, Javed Latif and PML-N Punjab Information Secretary Azma Zahid Bukhari.
Sources said the ex-premier was very upset over the IMF takeover of country’s economy. He said people were comparing the present era with his government when price-hike was under control despite the IMF pressure, sources added. He said the PTI government had badly failed on every front.
Nawaz Sharif also complained about increasing NAB cases against him, terming it the worst kind of victimisation. He said now a case for importing bullet-proof vehicles had also been initiated against him. “I don’t understand why I’m serving this jail term, as not a single paisa of corruption could be proved against me. I remained prime minister three times and carried out large number of development works in the country. Probably, they should also make a case against me for sitting on the PM’s chair for such a long time,” he was quoted as saying.
Sources said Nawaz Sharif wanted Maryam Nawaz to lead rallies and public meetings, especially Youm-e-Takbeer meeting in Lahore, sources said. However, central leaders informed him that some changes had been made in the plan and now Maryam would preside over Peshawar public meeting on May 28, in place of Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Khwaja Asif, who would be leading rally in Lahore.
Nawaz asked why Hamza Shahbaz was not leading in Lahore. To this, he was informed that Hamza’s protective bail was expiring a day before Youm-e-Takbeer, and he could also be arrested.
Azma Zahid Bukhari said Shahid Khaqan Abbasi briefed Nawaz Sharif about the meetings with opposition parties and the expectations of the forthcoming multi-parties conference (MPC) in Islamabad after Eid to chalk out the agitation strategy against the government.
Abbasi told him that all opposition parties were on the same page regarding waging agitation against the government and to protest against the problems, created by the government policies like inflation, price-hike, economic surrender to the IMF and accepting its slavery, said Ms Bukhari, adding that Khaqan Abbasi told Nawaz Sharif that the opposition parties were optimistic about evolving a joint strategy at the MPC.