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FORMER prime minister Nawaz Sharif addressing the convention on Tuesday.—APP
FORMER prime minister Nawaz Sharif addressing the convention on Tuesday.—APP

LAHORE: For the first time since the disqualification of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif on July 28, the Sharif family publicly said on Tuesday that initiation of a treason case against former dictator retired Gen Pervez Musharraf by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government was the reason behind his ouster.

Mr Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz also continued their tirade against the judiciary for what they described as an “unjust” decision against the former and vowed to struggle for the restoration of “justice and respect of ballot”.

Mr Sharif also asked if any court would dare bring Musharraf to justice. “Will we see any court hold Musharraf accountable for his crimes?” he asked and responded to his own question, saying: “I am hopeful one day this will happen.”

He was speaking at the PML-N social media convention in Model Town here. “We got a treason case registered against Musharraf for abrogating the Constitution. But his case is still pending and a verdict came in my case in haste,” Mr Sharif said.

Ousted PM claims his campaign is not against judiciary, but for ‘restoration of justice’

Explaining the reasons of her father’s ouster, Ms Maryam said: “When he (Nawaz) got registered a case against Musharraf, sit-ins (PTI and PAT Islamabad sit-ins in 2014) began against him. Then came the News Leaks and Panama Papers case and finally he was disqualified on an Iqama (work permit). This happened to my father because he did not bow. It was easy for him to choose an easy path but he didn’t.”

The focus of Mr Sharif’s speech was the judiciary which he said had shown “double standards” in his and PTI chairman Imran Khan’s cases.

“In this country the scales of justice should be equal for everyone. An elected prime minister is disqualified for not withdrawing a salary from the company of his son while Imran Khan got a preferential treatment from the court despite declaring his offshore company. They (judges) even declared the ‘ladla’ (favourite) Sadiq and Ameen and let him off the hook. It is a strange phenomenon in the country that someone’s offshore companies are legitimate and someone’s are illegitimate.”

He said fair trial was the right of every person as he was innocent till proven guilty. “But here I am not given the right to appeal (in court).”

The former premier explained that his campaign was not against the judiciary but for the “restoration of justice” in the country. “Our opponents are accusing us of running an anti-judiciary drive which is wrong. In fact time has come to lift the flag of restoration of justice in the country. The courts in the past had welcomed dictators and even Musharraf was allowed to make changes to the Constitution unconstitutionally. We have to change this. We will make achieving of ‘real justice’ a basic part of our manifesto in the next election,” he said, adding that his party would not leave the ground till its drive for restoration of justice was achieved.

Mr Sharif said Rs10 corruption had not been proved against him. “They did not disqualify me on corruption as nothing against me was proved. This is not justice but a joke. They made a mockery of the country. We have come out to stop this game being played for the last 70 years.”

Mr Sharif took on Imran Khan for calling him a coward. “I am not a coward. I had come out from home for restoration of judges in 2009 despite threats to my life while Imran was hiding in Rawalpindi. Imran was always looking for the support of the umpire and the courts to oust me. Now I want to tell him... that he will be clean bowled in the 2018 election by the PML-N.”

Mr Sharif said that his brother Shahbaz stood by him to meet the challenges after coming to power in 2013. “We controlled loadshedding and terrorism. We worked hard to complete those projects which had been left incomplete for the last 20 years.”

He regretted that the wheel of progress in the country had stopped after his disqualification. “After my disqualification the stock market index which is a barometer of progress has come down from 54,000 to 38,000.”

Moved by the enthusiasm of the PML-N activists present there, the ousted premier said this passion would fail the designs of the PML-N opponents. “If this passion remains till elections we will have a historic victory,” Mr Sharif said and took a pledge from them to spread the ideology of Nawaz Sharif which he said was “democracy, respect of ballot and justice”.

Published in Dawn, December 27th, 2017