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October 31, 2017

PML-N rejects minus Nawaz formula

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October 31, 2017

LONDON: The top leadership of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has reiterated that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif did not get a fair trial in the Panama case from the Supreme Court and that no minus-Nawaz formula would be accepted at any level and under any circumstances.

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif unanimously said here on Monday that Nawaz Sharif was denied a fair trial by the Supreme Court judges and denial of fair trial continued in the National Accountability (NAB) references.

Senior PML-N leaders said that any formula or attempt aimed at executing minus-Nawaz formula or any unconstitutional measure would be defeated and would not be acceptable to supporters, workers and leaders of the PML-N as the whole party agreed on the leadership of Nawaz Sharif.

The prime minister, rejecting the rumours about change in party's top leadership, posed a question to the reporter as to who was making Shahbaz Sharif as the party head. "If this was a fair trial, I would not have been disqualified on an Iqama instead of Panama [papers]," said Nawaz Sharif answering a question by Geo News. Nawaz remarked, "None of this was fair".

The former premier added: “I know what’s going against me, I understand this, I am witnessing everything and what’s happening is not accountability.” Upon his arrival for meeting with Nawaz Sharif at Hasan Nawaz’s office, PM Abbasi said that it was clear that Nawaz Sharif didn’t get the chance of a fair trial. Shahbaz Sharif told the waiting media outside that his elder brother was not given a fair trial at the Supreme Court, which is the fundamental right of every Pakistani citizen. He said that demanding a fair trial was the right of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

All the three strongly denied a rift in the PML-N ranks and said the hype about the rift and differences existed in the media and talkshows and nothing more than that. The Sharif brothers and PM Abbasi said that the party was united; neither were there any rifts in theparty nor were there any differences or contest over the leadership slot. The PM and Punjab CM said that Nawaz Sharif was the leader of the party and his consultation was part of all the decisions taken. Nawaz Sharif himself rubbished aside the rumours of rifts within the party, adding that there was no divide in the PML-N.

The former PM said despite that he didn’t expect a fair trial, he would continue to respect the courts and would appear before the NAB court on November 3. The PML-N leadership met at Hassan Nawaz’s flat for around four hours and discussed important issues around Nawaz Sharif’s disqualification and the current issues being faced by the government.

The huddle agreed that the elections would be held on time – in June next year, according to PM Abbasi – and the system would continue while attempts to disturb the democratic system would be foiled. 

The participants of the meeting also said that there was no space in the political landscape of the country for any unconstitutional step and there was no support from any quarter for such measures.

The participants agreed that not once had Nawaz Sharif unduly criticised any state institution since his ouster and there would be no such criticism but the huddle agreed that it was the basic right of Nawaz Sharif to point out the unfair and unjust treatment that he had been given in the guise of Panama trial.

Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif pointed out that some elements wanted a clash of institutions to create space for themselves but such elements would not succeed because they had nothing but negativity to rely on. He said that for the next elections, the PML-N would seek re-election on the basis of its good governance and for delivery of good economic results such as end of leadshedding and better economy than at any time before.

The meeting agreed that Nawaz Sharif’s dismissal caused instability in the country and the stock exchange plummeted by 10,000 to 12,000 points.

A source told this scribe that the meeting agreed that Nawaz’s disqualification on the basis of Iqama had rallied supporters around him as the party felt that he was not given a fair trial in the Panama Papers case and that his ouster was all about politics and nothing to do with accountability.

The high-level huddle also stated that the media was being used to create propaganda in order to cause political unrest in the country but the huddle agreed that such measures were damaging for Pakistan.

The three corruption references filed against the Sharif family by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) were an important point of discussion during the meeting, sources told Geo News. It was agreed that Nawaz Sharif and rest of the Sharifs would continue to cooperate with the courts throughout. The PML-N would also make it clear what was happening was not accountability but revenge.

Shahid Khaqan Abbasi described his visit and the meeting with the former prime minister as “private and in his personal capacity” and said he had taken a one-day leave from the government as the prime minister. The PM left for Pakistan on Monday night from the Heathrow Airport.  Earlier, to a query about the ceasing of PIA’s flight to New York, the prime minister said it should have been done three years ago. He rejected any possible link of Air Blue to that decision and said the Air Blue had no plan to start a flight for the USA.

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