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July 5, 2018
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Avenfield reference: Wants to hear verdict in court, says Nawaz

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July 5, 2018

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LONDON: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif has requested the Accountability Court to delay the verdict in the Avenfield reference “for a few days only” as he wants to hear it on his own.

At a press conference held on the steps of the Harley Street Clinic, Nawaz Sharif said he wanted to be in the courtroom in person to hear the verdict. "I am not a dictator who will run away from the courts. I will not run away and I will not let down my people," he said, while speaking to the media. "My wife has been on a ventilator for the last 21 days. I want to hear the verdict in the court room where I presented myself with my daughter over 100 times.”

Nawaz vowed that he would return to Pakistan no matter what the verdict was. “I will face all kinds of consequences and I will not run away. At this moment, I am praying that Kulsoom recovers and comes out of coma. If it comes in my favour, or, God forbids, it comes against me, I will go back.”

Earlier, the accountability court said it would announce its verdict in the Avenfield reference on July 6 and asked Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz to be present in the courtroom. "I will return as soon as Kulsoom’s health improves," he said. "She underwent an operation yesterday (Tuesday). Doctors are hopeful she will come out of the danger zone soon. I wish to see her conscious before going back to Pakistan. I have faced one-sided accountability for months and not only Pakistan but the whole world is aware about the revengeful cases against me but I have not evaded these cases." Nawaz said the doctors are hopeful that his wife will be out of danger in the coming few days.

The former prime minister said that the court gave verdict on the eligibility of a politician from Rawalpindi after reserving the decision for as many as three months and there were instances where verdicts were reserved up to eight months. "I am not asking for three months but a relief for some days."

Nawaz and his family are facing three corruption cases in the accountability court after the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) filed references against them in the light of the Supreme Court's verdict in the Panama Papers case last year. Nawaz said that he is facing one-sided investigations from July 2017 but the nation is standing with him. "The nation supports my respect for vote stance," he said.

The former prime minister said the nation's decision on July 25 would change the destiny of the country. "The entire nation is aware of one-sided actions against me. Those carrying the ‘Jeep’ symbol will not be able to manipulate the mandate of the people and they will be rejected by the voters," he said. Nawaz said he is ready to give any sacrifice for the people's right to govern and for the respect to vote. "I am the people's representative, I won't disappoint the nation by displaying cowardice. Those who are stopping the people's right to govern will be made into an example by the masses," the three-time elected former prime minister affirmed.

He said that his slogan of “give respect to vote” is popular and people of Pakistan believed in that. He said he is aware of the dangers he faces but he would return to Pakistan to face any consequences. He said he will continue to speak out for the kind of Pakistan that should have been made. “We didn’t get independence to go into slavery.”

Earlier in the morning, Maryam Nawaz Sharif said she is willing to go to prison to pay the high price of the path she has taken. When asked if she is ready to go to prison, she remarked: "I am absolutely ready. “There is nothing to be scared of. Once you have picked this flag of a work which no one has done in last 70 years, there is a price we have to pay and we are paying it currently,” she added. “There is a cost which one must pay and I am aware of it.”

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