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‘Will house the homeless’

JARANWALA: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Saturday promised to provide housing to the people after coming into power again, saying those living in rented homes would give small installments to have their own house in a few years time.

Nawaz described the upcoming election as a referendum for a new Pakistan, where every person would get a respectable job, adding he had fulfilled all the promises made in the past, including overcoming the energy crisis. He said it seemed that the legal proceedings were focused on him only, but added no harm could be done if Allah Almighty and the people are with him. “Even if I am disqualified for life, the bond between you [people] and I could not be broken,” he said and added the people would take notice [of these] and reject all the verdicts.

Addressing a mammoth gathering at the Jinnah Stadium, Nawaz said he is the PML-N president, as the law allows him to head a political party. There is no breach of law, he added. "There is another petition in the court to get me removed from the party's presidency, but will you accept such a decision?" he asked the charged crowd. “You elected me as the prime minister so how can someone else announce my ouster," he said, adding whether his disqualification is for five years or life, no one could affect his relationship with the public. "The people’s decision will be the final one."

He said the people of Jaranwala and Faisalabad have endorsed the PML-N policies of eliminating load-shedding, terrorism, and putting the country on the path of progress and prosperity. He said Tahirul Qadri has returned to Pakistan again to remove an elected government, but he would ultimately be rejected by the masses once again. Qadri damaged himself by aligning with a “darling” and another one from Sindh, he said, adding they would be defeated in the 2018 elections.

Referring to his movement for the supremacy of justice, Nawaz said, "I speak about the movement for justice today, which will ensure that a person will not have to deal with cases against their grandfather." The former prime minister enthralled the participants by comparing his rally with that of the joint opposition in Lahore where a large number of empty chairs were displayed during the meeting of three main opposition parties. “Did you see the sea of empty chairs in Lahore,” he asked.

He said there is no parallel between the meeting of PML-N and other political parties, adding the huge participation of people in the PML-N meetings is the dawn of a new prosperous and developed Pakistan. He said millions of people voted him to power but he was disqualified afterwards. "My fault is that I did not take salary from my son and hence I was disqualified and asked to vacate the Prime Minister's House.” "Now, I have come to the court of the people who could adjudge my fault," he added.

He said the journey between Islamabad to Lahore requires just four hours, but he covered that distance in four days. He was surprised by the enthusiasm of the people on the GT Road and the same enthusiasm is evident in the Jaranwala meeting, Nawaz added. Nawaz said he had made a solemn pledge with the people to end load-shedding in his five-year tenure, but he was disqualified after four years.

Recalling 1999, when he decided to opt for nuclear explosions, he said there was no dearth of electricity and the PML-N government was planning to export electricity to other countries at that juncture. He recalled that there was no terrorism and the country was making progress and the people were getting jobs. Schools and colleges were being established and Pakistan was going to emerge as an economic tiger but Musharraf took over the country, which eventually disrupted the pace of progress and prosperity, the former prime minister noted

He said he was again voted to power after 13 long years, and he had to spend seven years in exile and 14 months in jail during that ordeal. He said when he came to power again, the people were facing long load-shedding and terrorism. There was no electricity and gas, and the country was facing turmoil, he added. He said the PML-N government once gain rooted out terrorism, though sporadic cases of terrorism are recurring, as an elected prime minister has been disqualified.

Regarding the recent drone attack, he said during his tenure, he had made it clear to US President Obama that Pakistan is a sovereign country and it would not allow anybody to intrude on its soil. The drone attacks were stopped during his tenure, the former prime minister said.

Nawaz was critical of the opposition for making false claims of building a new Pakistan and said the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have witnessed for themselves that the party ruling in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has done nothing and is only staging sit-ins and levelling false accusations.

He said the nation has got true understanding of the meanings of “Sadiq” and “Ameen” when he was disqualified but another politician facing the same charges was given a certificate of honesty. He said he was disqualified first and the trial was conducted later on, Nawaz charged. He said the nation would hopefully reject his disqualification and asked the people if they are ready to accept it. The crowd raised hands, saying “No, No”.

Earlier, Maryam Nawaz, in her address, implored the supporters to rise up against the injustices. "Do you accept a Pakistan where the people’s vote has the lowest worth," she questioned. "Are you willing to accept a Pakistan in which an elected prime minister attends court summons along with his daughter, but the dictators such as Musharraf pay no heed to the court," she said. Taking a jibe at Imran Khan, she asked the people if they are willing to accept a Pakistan where the judiciary is biased toward a 'darling'.

Maryam also said if the people are ready to accept a Pakistan where they (judges) make speeches on TV but hide behind contempt of court, when criticised. She urged the people to stand up and teach a lesson to those hatching conspiracies to derail democracy in the country.

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