Friday June 14, 2024

PML-N elects Nawaz Sharif as president after six-year hiatus

PML-N president says Imran "helped" in toppling PML-N regime in 2017 and "derailing democracy"

By Web Desk
May 28, 2024
PML-N President Nawz Sharif addresses the partys General Council Meeting in Lahore on May 28, 2024, in this still taken from a video. — Geo News
PML-N President Nawz Sharif addresses the party's General Council Meeting in Lahore on May 28, 2024, in this still taken from a video. — Geo News

LAHORE: Nawaz Sharif, PML-N's newly-elected president, said Tuesday that Pakistan would have progressed if his governments had not been removed from Prime Minister's Office repeatedly.

Nawaz had lost the prime minister’s office in 2017 and the presidency of his party in 2018, as a result of the Panama Papers ruling. Ever since, the PML-N has constructed a narrative centred around the catchphrase “mujhy kyun nikala” (Why was I removed?), in reference to ex-PM. 

Today, the PML-N's general council meeting declared Nawaz once again after a gap of six years, as the party president, elected "unopposed", as no other party leader submitted their nomination papers against the former prime minister. 

While addressing the party's general council meeting, the former prime minister said that Pakistan would have progressed if his governments had not been toppled repeatedly.

He said that Pakistan would have held a unique position and power in Asia if the progress under his government had not been halted.

Nawaz lamented the practice of “leg pulling”, which he said had been going on since 1977 and had weakened the country.

"We should accept that we have shot ourselves in the foot. Believe me, we have never gone to anyone with a begging bowl," he added.

The three-time prime minister reiterated that he would have never complained if he had been ousted from the prime minister’s post for corruption.

'Panama Papers ruling thrown into waste basket'

Nawaz told the party members cheering for him on the occasion, to celebrate not because he was re-elected as the PML-N president but because the decision by former chief justice of Pakistan Saqib Nisar in the Panama Papers case “had been thrown into the waste basket”.

"Saqib Nisar had given the ruling to remove me from the party’s presidency forever. Tell him to come here today and see what happened to his decision," Nawaz added.

"Four to five people compromised the people’s mandate,” he said while referring to his ouster after being elected by the masses.

The newly elected PML-N president said that he felt pride that his party members had never cared about any difficult situation.

He also hailed his brother, PM Shehbaz for his "resilience" as he always stood with him, saying that many people tried to create rifts between them by offering Shehbaz the post of prime minister but he didn't give into it.

"Shehbaz Sharif said, 'I reject the top ministry being given in exchange for disloyalty'," Nawaz said.

He also congratulated his daughter, Punjab Chief Minister Mariam Nawaz, for keeping the party active.

Turning his guns towards the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) founder, Nawaz asked which of the cases against Imran Khan were fake. He also asked Imran whether he was the "third force" behind his ouster.

The PML-N president said that it was Imran who "helped" in toppling the PML-N regime in 2017 and "derailing democracy".

Nawaz's to steer country out of crises: PM Shehbaz

While speaking on the occassion, PM Shehbaz reposed his trust in the newly-elected president and said he has now returned the responsibility to Nawaz, which was entrusted to him years back.

It may be noted that the premier, earlier this month, stepped down as the PML-N president, saying that it was time that his elder brother and three-time former prime minister "to resume his rightful place" as the party chief.

"I believe that if we work day and night, under Nawaz Sharif's guidance, Pakistan will come out of the crises and it will become the same Pakistan that Nawaz Sharif left in 2017," the prime minister, who was the party's president after Nawaz, said.

Shehbaz said people who despised the three-time prime minister had him removed from office under a made-up case, which was first Panama and then 'aqama'.

"But today, under Nawaz's leadership, we are working in Punjab and the federation [...] day and night," Shehbaz said, claiming that the 2018 elections were forcefully snatched from the PML-N president.

Calling on the judiciary, he said: "You are Pakistanis, you are judges; if development does not return to Pakistan, then there will be no judges, no politicians, and no one else."

"Do you want this? I believe that most of these judges are Pakistanis and think about Pakistan's development, but some 'black sheeps' [are helping PTI founder] Imran Khan," the two-time prime minister said.

When Nawaz was under trial, Shehbaz said, he would not get bail in his cases. "But today, there are discussions about how he [Imran] can be sent out on bail and his cases dismissed."

He slammed Imran and said all "of your conspiracies" will be foiled. Shehbaz also lamented that the PTI founder for "running campaigns" against the family members of army personnel.

Earlier, PML-N Punjab chapter president Rana Sanaullah quoted PM Shehbaz as saying that it was necessary to return the presidency to Nawaz as all the cases lodged against him have been quashed.

In 2017, Nawaz was disqualified via a conspiracy, he said, adding that fake cases against the PML-N supreme have reached to their logical end.