Friday September 17, 2021

No issue with establishment but for supremacy of Constitution, says Nawaz

September 15, 2021
Nawaz Sharif file photo
Nawaz Sharif file photo

LONDON: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif has said voters “rejected” the PTI in the Cantonment Board polls held in Pakistan Sunday.

The former prime minister, who has been living in London since November 2019, was speaking to around a dozen Pakistani reporters at his son’s office near Hyde Park Corner. The meeting lasted for two hours during which the reporters asked him questions about his relations with the establishment, his return to Pakistan, friction within the PMLN, the situation in Afghanistan and the Cantonment Board elections. The PMLN supremo said he has “no issue” with the establishment of Pakistan and the pivot of his struggle is the supremacy of the Constitution and democracy. He said he has been put in jail on several occasions on “fake and concocted charges” in order to punish him for the stance he has taken for democracy in Pakistan. “I have no fight with the establishment or anyone, and there never will be (such a fight). I want respect for the democratic mandate of the people’s elected representatives, no interference in the functioning of the government and supremacy of the parliament and the Constitution”. He said he will be returning to Pakistan once cleared by his doctors. He said he was getting treatment in London and will be returning to Pakistan “at the right time” without fearing the consequences.

“I didn’t care for jails and sufferings when my wife was dying in London and I went to jail with my daughter, from London, in a fake case which was made to oust me from power to rig the 2018 elections. Those who ask if I am scared of jails should know that jails are nothing new for me: “I spent months in Landhi Jail and was tortured in a fake hijacking case. Former president Pervez Musharraf imprisoned me in a fort but I didn’t compromise on my stance, didn’t withdraw from my principled position. I stood by my stance and this stance has to win. It will win Inshallah”.

When asked about the alleged rifts within the family, Nawaz Sharif said there was no truth in reports that there were rifts. When asked who will be the next prime ministerial candidate, Nawaz Sharif said only time will tell.

About the recent Cantonment Board elections, he said he was grateful to Allah that his party candidates swept Punjab but alleged that there was “rigging” in these elections and the government machinery was used to support the PTI candidates. “Pakistan is suffering as a result of the policies of this government; I wonder who could vote for such a party which has brought so much misery to the people. We have been vindicated in these elections,” he added.

Nawaz told reporters that he was disqualified for life by the Supreme Court judges — many of whom are now retired — for not taking a salary from his son, but their “double standards have been exposed”. “Judge Arshad Malik, before his death, said he was blackmailed to convict me and Justice Shaukat Siddiqui told the Supreme Court how he was put under pressure to victimise me and Maryam before 2018 elections, is this justice?” he asked.