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LAHORE: As hearing in the Panamagate case resumes after a two-week hiatus, MNA Hamza Shahbaz is optimistic that the Sharif family will emerge stronger and its stance will be vindicated in court.

He also dispels the impression (being created through media reports) that Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and his sons are not defending Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his children in the Panama case.

“Those saying so should read our statements and listen to our speeches on the matter,” Hamza said in an interview for Dawn. He hastened to add, “there is no issue in the family and it will remain united through thick and thin.”

“In fact, a sense of bonding and love in our family had been tested in the adverse times when Musharraf was using his might against us. My father had rejected his offer of becoming the prime minister,” he said. Even a dictator like Musharraf, he said, could not create a rift between the two brothers (Nawaz and Shahbaz).

Responding to a question, he denied reports that there had been a race among the scions of the Sharif family for succession to the throne. He also takes exception to those who call him a “deputy chief minister”, vehemently denying he harbours any ambitions.

He also castigated Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chairman Imran Khan and other opposition leaders who make jibes at the Sharifs, saying: “The so-called accountability-seekers must remember that we had been under scrutiny for eight years during the Musharraf regime. We underwent exile besides being scrutinised for our business and politics. I was also made to serve jail but I never compromised on principles.”

Talking about his political struggle spanning 10 years, he recalled: “When Musharraf sent my father and uncle and other members of the family in exile, I was detained here as political hostage. I have great regard for the political workers including those of PPP who served jail terms for the cause of democracy.”

He doesn’t believe he needs an office to serve the people. “I am here to serve the people and I do not need any government office. I believe that people can’t be fooled. They elect those politicians alone who work and solve their problem. Just take the example of the PPP which was routed in the 2013 elections because it could not deliver in its last regime.”

Similarly, he said, Imran Khan should learn from this and start serving the people in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa where he has the government. “Let me tell you, there is only one way to win election and that is performance,” said Hamza, who is sanguine about his party’s victory in the 2018 election.

As his political opponents also heap scorns on him for his alleged role in influencing transfers and postings and hiring in various departments, Hamza challenges them to prove this and corruption of even a penny.

The Sharif family scion, who was tasked with overseeing the local government elections, disagrees with the impression that the Punjab government is not willing to empower the system. He is rather critical of Musharraf’s local governments which, he said, opened the “doors to corruption”.

“I have visited all the 36 districts of the province and will ensure through local governments that people’s problems are addressed at their doorstep and that the local representatives do not face any financial constraints. It is the goal of our government to fully own the local system and make it stronger,” he said.

He also hit out at the critics of the PML-N’s development projects such as road infrastructure and metro services. “When they do not find anything else, they target out health and education initiatives. I don’t claim that all is well with these sectors but we are working hard to address the issues,” he said.

He said the government was making basic and rural health units model hospitals that would immensely help address the health issues at the local level. It had imposed ‘education emergency’ in the province, sending brilliant students abroad.

About Maryam Nawaz’s emergence on the political scene as a possible ‘successor’ to her father Nawaz Sharif and his (Hamza) own role in future politics, he said: “This is not a debate in our family. Portfolios do not matter. Prime ministers and chief ministers come and go; what matters is the love of the people. And people love us because we are serving them... fulfilling our promises on energy, terrorism, employment and economic growth.”

Hamza also fails to understand what he says unjust criticism especially by Imran Khan on politics of inheritance. “There are many countries where the children of famous political dynasties are doing politics. It is like a child of a doctor becoming a doctor... so what’s wrong if a son of a politician becomes a politician.”

Published in Dawn, February 16th, 2017

Comments (36) Closed

Hamid Shafiq Feb 16, 2017 09:24am

May be he do not listen the judges remarks

Hassan Feb 16, 2017 09:44am

All he is saying is true. He will be strengthened while Ns and Maryam would be weakened. He is politically correct. He is reminding his sacrfices at time of Musharaf. He is saying he is visiting all districts. Projecting himself at time when people are fed up of Ns and Maryam nawaz (not of shahbaz sharif family)

Badshah Feb 16, 2017 09:43am

People and party like yours can emerge powerful only in countries like Pakistan. decayed and rotten system, where people sell their votes for just a biryani plate, where empty handed, weak and hungry people are enslaved by your miss use of power, where personal and party benefits have upper hand over national interests, where businessmen come in power to strengthen their assets and business instead of country and its people and bla bla...

Syed Feb 16, 2017 09:48am

Only if judges don't do justice then this Mafia will emerge stronger as ever.

PASHTUN Feb 16, 2017 09:48am

oh the prince's opinions !!

Sameer Feb 16, 2017 10:03am

The stronger thr corrupt become, the weaker the state/federation will get.

Speak Feb 16, 2017 10:10am

@Hamid: Basically their translation of judges comments is totally opposite. Hopefully & InshAllah justice will be served & these culprits/thugs will be jailed & their properties/accounts will be confiscated.

Irfan Feb 16, 2017 10:18am

I have no doubt. They are powerful people greater than all the institutions.

Mubashir Feb 16, 2017 10:25am

These dudes have no idea of conflict of interest!

JKhan Feb 16, 2017 10:42am

I agree with his very limited intellectual capacity.

khanm Feb 16, 2017 10:42am

@Syed Pal the bottom line is...When loot plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men in a society, over the course of time they create for themselves a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.

i.m. khan Feb 16, 2017 11:21am

"the court will vindicate our stance"; what stance 'money was transferred through camels'!!! how funny!!!

SalqaIn Feb 16, 2017 11:27am

Of course court cases are making them stronger! Real thugs

The end is near Feb 16, 2017 11:43am

Yes, more stronger in corruption than ever before.

Nikama Feb 16, 2017 11:50am

Ppl listen, elections are coming so plz think who u vote but plz dont vote these thugs.these sharifs by name are the most corrupt family v have ever seen..decision is urs whether vote them and cry for 5 more years..

Khan Feb 16, 2017 11:59am

What is he talking ?

Saif Zulfiqar Feb 16, 2017 12:07pm

Will the judgement be honest?

PakistaniAT Feb 16, 2017 12:23pm

At the end of the day this ruling in Pakistan is a Sharif family business!

Javed Arshad Feb 16, 2017 12:25pm

Limited intellect.

Javed Mirani Feb 16, 2017 12:39pm

@Khan He knows what he I s talking about, all the institutions are broken:

DJ Feb 16, 2017 12:49pm

Damage has already been done.

Abdulla Hussain Feb 16, 2017 12:56pm

It is time for the Sharif family to read between the lines. This time the grip seems stronger than before.

KHAN LAGHARI Feb 16, 2017 12:58pm

The face of corruption !

kanwarch Feb 16, 2017 01:09pm

pakistan is in the grip of a mafia gang of criminals and looters. god help pakistan

Shakeel Ahmed Feb 16, 2017 01:10pm

Intellectually retarded, affluently gifted.

Furqan Feb 16, 2017 01:13pm

He has to gain NS trust now, as he foresees his dismissal via Supreme Court of Pakistan. NS trust can enable Hamza being new PM Pakistan.

Well played Hamza! But you cant fool the nation anymore.

citizen26 Feb 16, 2017 01:56pm

So shall the media talk about his performance?

Abdulla Hussain Feb 16, 2017 02:08pm

I credit Sharif family & associates for trying so hard to make the world believe that all their wealth is very hard earned and not a penny of bad money is included in their fortune, it is only that the documentary proof of money trail is not available. No Book No Account. The only money trail created by the camels got wiped away due to desert storm

Saeed Iqbal Feb 16, 2017 02:38pm

Inshallah you all will go down together. Just wait and see.

MUDASSAR Feb 16, 2017 02:56pm

Hamza Gee,

You need to be aware that there is a bigger court on the day of judgement where you and your family will be answerable.

Philosopher(from japan) Feb 16, 2017 03:55pm

Stronger to do more corruption and loot. What's your credentials to become MNA except you are a son of one and nephew of other big shot.

jarredlee34 Feb 16, 2017 04:00pm

What can you expect from him?

SAB Feb 16, 2017 04:41pm

If the Sharifs' stance is vindicated, then FBR should be closed down and the government should stop collecting taxes. Mushtaq Raisani should be honorably acquitted and given Nisahan-e-Haider.

Naeem Feb 16, 2017 07:50pm

You will emerge stronger with more corruption and lies.

ali Feb 16, 2017 08:01pm

The entire Sharifs stinks with corruption and deceit.

3D PerspEctive Feb 17, 2017 09:55am

@Hassan .Yes you are right Hamza Sharif will appear strong after SC verdict. All other statements of Hamza are cosmetic political favour to uncle and his family.