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July 12, 2018

Prison or gallows, I won’t stop, says Nawaz

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July 12, 2018

LONDON: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday said that he was returning to Pakistan leaving his wife Kulsoom in Allah's protection and not scared of whether he is hanged, imprisoned or given any other punishment.

Speaking at a news conference alongwith his daughter Maryam Nawaz, the former premier said that he wished to see his wife opening her eyes again, requesting the nation to pray for her recovery.

He said that he was returning "despite seeing a prison cell in front of him” and was saddened that he was leaving his wife behind on ventilator. "I am returning to fulfill the promise of giving respect to vote," Nawaz said, adding that he would not abandon his nation and was ready to pay all costs.

Nawaz Sharif took a jibe at Asif Ali Zardari and others who said that he will not return to Pakistan. “Those putting me on the ECL should know that I am coming back, there are those who said that I will not be coming back to Pakistan, some said I will be taking political asylum but all of them were wrong, I and Maryam are coming back. This is my message to them that I am not the one who runs away.”

Speaking of the Avenfield reference verdict, the former premier noted that it was written in the verdict that Nawaz had been absolved of corruption charges. "It had to be written in the verdict that no evidence of corruption could be found against me," he said.

"Is there any Pakistani whose three generations had to face such sort of accountability?" he asked. Nawaz said the people of Pakistan once again saw the "real face" of justice. "Having searched in several countries of the world, it had to be written that there was no evidence of corruption [against me]."

He maintained that he respected every institution of Pakistan, noting that he made the country a nuclear-capable state. "I have immense respect for 'Ghazis' and 'Shuhada' of Pakistani forces in my heart," the former premier said. "The martyrs sacrificed their today for our tomorrow." He said that they greatly loved these 'Ghazis' and 'Shuhada', and they could sacrifice everything for these sons of the soil. Nawaz, however, said that he had set out bearing the flag of "give respect to vote."

"I'm coming to pay off the debt of the nation that thrice elected me the prime minister," he said. He said that the conviction verdict against him stands exposed as “biased” and “vindictive”. He said that tens of thousands of documents were presented before the court and billions were spent on the trial but in the end the prosecution judge, while announcing the verdict, confirmed that I have not done corruption of a penny or misused public funds. “I was acquitted on all corruption charges,” he said.

Nawaz Sharif said that decision to disqualify him, his daughter and Captain Safdar was “made somewhere else”. “My enemies have gone after my family despite the fact the JIT head said that he found no corruption in investigations, the judge cleared us of any corruption, my daughter who has never held a public office in her life has been convicted. This is the height of revenge,” said Nawaz Sharif.

Nawaz Sharif accused the courts of double standards and said that there was one rule for the ‘Laadla’ and one for others. He said that more than 40 references are pending before the same court for years but the accused, including two former prime ministers, keep getting exemptions while he was subjected to a speedy trial.

Nawz Sharif said that those who were pulling the strings of courts and the JIT will be exposed one day including the 40 experts who gave their reports and ran the campaign against him. He said that never in the history has a monitoring judge been appointed in a case and all norms of the law were broken. “Those who did this damaged Pakistan for their personal satisfaction.”

Nawaz Sharif said that today Pakistan’s narrative is not trusted in the world and even Pakistan’s friends no more trust Pakistan’s some policies, which bring bad name to Pakistan. Nawaz said that when he pointed out these flawed policies and wanted a different course of action, the hoax of DawnLeaks was created to run a campaign against him.

Nawaz said that he could have stayed in power “for as long I could have wanted by bowing my head down and taking dictation but I chose principles over power and decided to live and rule with dignity and that’s my biggest crime, I chose the difficult path”.

Nawaz Sharif said that the “time of puppets is over, no amount of cruelty, injustice and revenge can stop me from my mission and those who thought that I will run away were mistaken, it's the elected representatives of people who should make decisions and decide their fate”. Nawaz Sharif said he respected all institutions and believed in the rule of law and “always gave priority to the needs of our armed forces”.

He added: “I decided to make Pakistani atomic power against threats of the whole world, I salute Pakistani soldiers who sacrifices their lives for us, for our tomorrow. I have utmost respect for them, they are our heroes. My objection is to those who violate their oath and indulge in power politics and use dirty tricks against political parties”.

Nawaz Sharif said that Pervez Musharraf, who abrogated the Constitution of Pakistan twice, remains at large and no one has the power to bring him back. He said civil liberties, human rights, freedom of expression and media freedoms have been completely suppressed and a culture of abuses and attacks is being promoted.

“There used to be 'state within a state' but now it's 'state above the state' but this is not how the countries survive and run and to become a prosperous and democratic country we have to change this course and sooner,” he said.

He asked his supporters to come out on Friday when he arrives in Pakistan to stand by democracy and also come out in droves on election day to change the fate of Pakistan. Maryam Nawaz Sharif said that going back to Pakistan “to go to prison was the most difficult decision of our lives because my mother is on the ventilator and we don’t know what happens next, there is no pain like that of leaving your mother behind in such situation but there’s a national duty and we must make this important journey”.

She said that Sharif family has faced more than 100 court appearances on bogus charges. “The courts gave one after another decision against us, the SC did its best, NAB tried all methods, each and every opponent tried their best but in the end no corruption was proven and we stand vindicated.” Maryam Nawaz said that Pakistan was standing at an important juncture and “these are defining times”.

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