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July 30, 2017

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Nawaz says not out on corruption charges

Nawaz says not out on corruption charges

ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif has said that he feels proud that he was not disqualified over corruption charges, adding that there was no reason for disqualifying him, and any member of his family and he did not deserve the treatment which was meted out to them.

“After giving accountability of three generations what came out was just an Iqama which was not my source of income. On the other hand, there are people whose pockets are full but they never declare their complete assets,” said Nawaz Sharif, while addressing the first meeting of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Parliamentary Party on Saturday following his disqualification by the Supreme Court.

All PML-N legislators expressed their complete trust in the leadership of Nawaz Sharif and vowed that they would resign from parliament on his nod.

Amid rousing and unabated clapping, Nawaz Sharif announced that he would undertake countrywide visits to address public meetings and take the people into confidence about the reasons for his ouster. 

Addressing the meeting at the Punjab House, Nawaz assured the people that he would fulfill the commitments made by him with them to change the fate of the country and fellow countrymen. The Parliamentary Party meeting was attended by the members belonging to the PML-N in a record number and it continued for three hours. 

PML-N Chairman Raja Muhammad Zafarul Haq, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, governors Malik Rafique Rajwana, Punjab, Zubair Umar, Sindh, Iqbal Zafar Jhagra, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Senator Pervaiz Rashid, PML-N spokesman Dr Asif Saeed Kirmani, Azad Kashmir Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider, Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) Chief Minister Hafiz Hafeez-ur-Rehman, President PML-N (youth) Capt (retd) Muhammad Safdar. 

Nawaz Sharif who was visibly annoyed about the judgment, expressed disbelief over the grounds for his dismissal, but resolved to continue struggle for the supremacy of the Constitution and rule of law in the country. "I still do not understand the grounds for my dismissal," Nawaz Sharif said.

"I am only content that I was not disqualified on the grounds of alleged corruption. When I never took a salary, what would I declare?" he asked, referring to the SC judgment that led to his ouster. 

The Joint Investigation Team report, examined by the SC during the course of the PanamaLeaks case hearings, revealed that Nawaz Sharif had not declared in his nomination papers for the 2013 general election a monthly income of 10,000 dirhams drawn from a Dubai-based company between Aug 7, 2006 and April 20, 2014. The company belonged to his son. 

"I was in exile and getting a visa at that time was difficult. When I went to London from Saudi Arabia, I could not live there for more than six months. I had to travel to another country and return. So I would get my visa from Dubai every six months since London was the centre of our politics," he explained. 

"So to get a visa, we thought, this would be a legal method. My son opened a company. He made me the chairman. And a salary was decided since you are required to be a salaried individual," he added. "They disqualified me for not receiving a salary. Since it was not received, it is an asset that had to be declared. It is my son's company, not the government's company, and I was not making millions out of it," he claimed. 

"When you take something, there's a problem; when you don't, there's a problem," he observed with a smile. 

"Is it only my family that should be held accountable? Is everyone else in this country Sadiq (truthful) and Ameen (trustworthy)?” he asked. 

"Some people urged me to resign, but I told them that it is not a bed of roses, but a bed of thorns that I am sitting on, and my conscience is telling me not to resign because I did nothing wrong. My conscience is clear," he continued. 

"If I had done something wrong, or took something from this country that was not mine, I would have felt the guilt myself," he said. 

"Maybe some 20 years ago I was not so ideological but time and various events have made me ideological. Living outside your motherland for seven years is not easy. My struggle throughout my life, to be exiled, to be jailed, to be sentenced for 27 years in jail, to be called a hijacker when I was the sitting prime minister. I have seen all that and suffered all that. There have been prime ministers before me, they've been hanged, and you've seen that," he reminded. 

He lamented that no Pakistani prime minister was allowed to complete his constitutional term, adding that if prime ministers are sent packing like this, it is feared that the country may face any tragedy. He said that not the army but a few people are responsible for imposition of martial law in the country. 

"The way forward is clear: there should be supremacy of the Constitution and the rule of law. We've had regrettable moments in our history, but our future should be free of these regrets. We should all sit together and contemplate how could do we run this country better.

"I do not care for myself; I only care for this country, its people and generations to come," the PML-N leader added in a convincing tone. 

"Everyone in the world is talking about this judgement. Read their publications and see what they're saying. What more can I add?" he said. "Nonetheless, like a jawan who is willing to sacrifice himself for the country, I will always defend the rule of law and the Constitution for this country.

"I want my party leaders to support me in this. The two hundred million people in this country are looking at you. Whatever happened has happened. I am happy there's no blemish on my character. We have to change Pakistan. I will support you day and night. I do not want power. This will be my struggle for the country. If we do right to this country, we will walk with our heads held high. I am no longer the prime minister, but I am still willing to do my bit," Nawaz added.

He said: "I do not want my life's work to go waste. I want my struggle to bear fruit for this country. The two hundred million people of this country deserve it. Again, I have no thirst for power. I no longer desire office. I only desire that my country is free of its burdens. What I have done for this country should be accepted," he said, reminding the party of his hand in various infrastructural and power projects, including the Lowari Tunnel and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the performance of the economy, and various social uplift projects like the PM's Health Card Scheme. 

"I do not mean to sing my own praises, but I do want that my services to this country are acknowledged," Nawaz said. "The way we have been treated is shameful, and it should not have been so. We should not be destined to remain wayward wanderers. Please support me in leading this country forward. I promise you that this country will become a beautiful nation one day." 

He said: “You should be proud that your leader doesn’t have a stain of corruption on him. I am proud that I have not been declared ineligible over charges of corruption.” 

He added: “The nation now knows why I was declared ineligible [to lead the nation as the premier]. Let the people decide over whatever is happening.” 

Nawaz also asked his political rivals to reveal their assets and sources of income. “Pakistan would face a disaster one day if the political uncertainty remains,” he said, adding: “Terrorism would have been eliminated had the sit-ins not taken place.” 

Nawaz Sharif was in antagonistic disposition but assured about his resolve. 

Earlier, PML-N candidate for interim prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi also addressed the meeting briefly and assured the fellow parliamentarians that he would serve country to his best ability and in accordance to the wishes of the party leadership.

Former law minister Zahid Hamid also addressed the meeting and analysed the verdict through its shortcomings.

 

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