CHAKWAL: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, who has been on an anti-judiciary streak since his ouster in the wake of the Panama Papers case, on Monday claimed that while he wanted to forego the ‘wounds inflicted on him’, insult was being added to his injury and old wounds were being reopened.

Addressing a public gathering in Chakwal on the eve of a provincial assembly by-election, he also held the Supreme Court bench that disqualified him responsible for the scourge of terrorism and the rampant unemployment that had reared its head again following his ouster.

The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief ostensibly came to Chakwal to condole with his party’s candidate Chaudhry Sultan Haider Ali over the death of erstwhile MPA Chaudhry Liaquat Ali Khan — who passed away on Oct 30 last year.

Chaudhry Sultan Haider Ali is the elder son of the late MPA, and will be going head to head against Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf candidate Raja Tariq Mehmood Afzal in Tuesday’s (today) by-election in PP-20.

Addresses party workers on eve of PP-20 by-election; blames SC for resurgence of terrorism following his ouster

Urging the people to remember the faces of those who plunged the country into darkness, Mr Sharif said that “politicians and dictators alike did this; you have to remember them”.

“If terrorism is rearing its head again and unemployment is increasing today, it is not Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s fault, but the outcome of the July 28 judgement, which created chaos in the country,” he declared, referring to the verdict that led to his disqualification.

“Had I been ousted on the charges of corruption, I would not have been able to hold my head up high. But not a single penny’s worth of corruption could be proved against me, and I was disqualified on the grounds that I did not receive a salary from my son,” he claimed.

He maintained that the grounds on which he was disqualified were related to the period when he was in exile. “I was kept away from my country for seven years and not allowed to return. I want to forget these wounds, but don’t add insult to injury. These wounds are not being inflicted on my heart, but the hearts of those who hope to see their country prosper,” he maintained.

“You elect a person as your prime minister with a heavy mandate, and just five persons can disqualify him in one minute. Is this the sanctity of your vote?” he asked the audience, who responded with slogans.

PTI’s complaint

However, the PTI did not take too kindly to Mr Sharif’s visit to an election constituency and filed a complaint before the Election Commission of Pakistan over a violation of the electoral code of conduct.

The complaint stated that electioneering should have ended on Monday night, but Nawaz Sharif addressed party workers and local leaders despite the moratorium. In a statement issued on Monday, PTI spokesman Fawad Chaudhry expressed concern over alleged silence of the ECP about the presence of PML-N president Nawaz Sharif in the constituency just a day before the polls.

“We have issued a notice to the PML-N candidate and summoned him today (Tuesday),” District Returning Officer Khushal Zada told Dawn.

Meanwhile, District Monitoring Officer Mohammad Shahid fined the PML-N candidate Rs 50,000 over a visit to the constituency by Hamza Shahbaz, while the DRO has written to the ECP seeking action against the PML-N MNA. Hamza visited the constituency and addressed his party workers on Jan 4, which he is not allowed to do in his capacity as an MNA.

Published in Dawn, January 9th, 2018

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