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Nawaz retorts…: Where’s NRO? Will divulge mistreatment details when out of jail

By Our Correspondent
January 11, 2019

LAHORE: Incarcerated former premier Nawaz Sharif said on Thursday those claiming that “we have asked for an NRO (deal) are telling lies”.

Talking to reporters in Kot Lakhpat jail, he asked “where’s the so-called NRO?” He said that he would divulge details of the ‘(mis)treatment’ being meted out to him in jail once he was out of the prison.

He said he had not been provided even a functional heater (in this cold weather) in his jail room. “I don’t know what type of electricity is provided in jail which can’t heat up even a heater,” he complained.

He termed the Punjab government incompetent and said Shahbaz Sharif-led former government was capable in comparison. Metro project in Punjab was completed in 11 months, while there had been no progress on the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa metro project so far, he added. He said despite his hard work, Shahbaz was being treated badly.

Earlier, Maryam Nawaz and senior leaders of Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) reached the jail to meet Nawaz Sharif at Central Jail Kot Lakhpat on Thursday.

Prominent among the visitors were Hamza Shahbaz, former premier Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Senator Mushahidullah Khan, Khwaja Asif, Rana Sanaullah Khan, Pervaiz Rashid and MPAs Sania Ashiq and Hina Parvez Butt, and others.

Talking to the media outside Kot Lakhpat jail, Mushahidullah said Nawaz Sharif was in jail for putting the country’s politics on the right path. He said in any country, there were many stakeholders in politics and democracy and Nawaz Sharif, being the quaid of a big political party, was one of the important stakeholders. He said the former premier was punished for economically empowering the country and making the same a nuclear power and for not bowing his head.

Mushahidullah said the country had greatly suffered because of the “imposed” government, which was carrying begging bowl everywhere. He also criticised Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government for taking massive loans, saying it had no idea how to repay the same.

The PML-N leader said that agenda of anti-democracy and to misgovern the country was being followed while everyone else, except those in the government, was being termed a thief.

Mushahidullah said some people wanted to see Nawaz Sharif completely missing from the political scene and added, they were unaware of the fact that that would not end people’s love for Nawaz Sharif.

Rana Sanaullah Khan told the media the government was only targeting the opposition through vindictive accountability. He said from shopkeeper to mill-owner, everyone was worried as business activities had completely become standstill in the country. He said if the prevailing situation continues, the country might default.

The former Punjab law minister said the government’s ministers were busy in rebuking the opposition and media while unemployment was also on the rise.

After meeting the former premier in jail, MPA Sania Ashiq said in a social media post “though in high spirits, Nawaz Sharif’s health was a serious concern. He gives all his followers the energy that if one is right on his cause, nothing can come in the way,” she tweeted.

Sania Ashiq said when someone asked Nawaz Sharif what did he miss the most, he replied: Kulsoom. “In fact, I miss her a lot,” he was quoted as having said.

Earlier, charged PML-N workers and supporters greeted Maryam Nawaz when she arrived at Kot Lakhpat jail. Chanting slogans in favour of their leaders, they also showered rose-petals on her vehicle. Maryam Nawaz had brought home-cooked food for her father.

Meanwhile, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader and former Punjab governor Makhdoom Syed Ahmed Mahmud met Nawaz Sharif at Kot Lakhpat Jail on Thursday.

While setting aside all rumours of conveying a message from PPP Co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari to the PML-N supermo, sources close to Makhdoom said he visited Nawaz Sharif in personal capacity. They further said Sharif embraced Makhdoom upon his arrival in the jail. They added the former governor spent 10 to 15 minutes with Nawaz Sharif and also inquired about his health.

Makhdoom Ahmed Mahmud is the first prominent politician outside the PML-N who paid a visit to Nawaz Sharif in jail, where the latter is serving a seven-year jail term in Al-Azizia Steel Mills reference since December 25.

Outside the Kot Lakhpat Jail, while replying a question about PTI government’s sincerity vis-à-vis its promise on south Punjab province, Makhdoom said three houses had passed the resolutions for the province while Senate had also done legislation in this regard. Without naming the PTI, he said they contested the election in the name of south Punjab province. “And I hope that they would fulfil their promise,” he added.