Ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif's daughter Maryam Nawaz addressed a workers' social media convention in Sialkot on Friday — the same day the PML-N leader was declared disqualified for life in a historic verdict by the Supreme Court.
In her opening remarks, the ex-PM's daughter said: "How qualified is a person who has to be declared disqualified not once, not twice or even thrice, but four times in the same case?"
She went on to boldly claim that the reason why Nawaz Sharif was declared disqualified again and again in the past and again today was because "they believe they cannot defeat Nawaz Sharif in the elections".
She said that the verdict today was not a mere decision in the case but in fact "an admission of the fact that Nawaz Sharif is winning".
She said that in the country's 70-year-long history, the opposition had spent 30 years trying to bring the PML-N leader down, but declared that "he is not backing down."
She reminded the people how Musharraf had sentenced Nawaz to life imprisonment twice and had him handcuffed and how "a dictator" had declared him to be history.
"Do you remember how he [Nawaz Sharif] was exiled along with his family for seven years? How he was declared unfit and barred from contesting elections?" she asked the crowd of PML-N supporters.
"These punishments, such treatment meted out to your elected representatives, lies in history's trash bins," she exclaimed. "And where are those punishers today?" she asked.
She said that in Musharraf's time, corruption cases against Nawaz Sharif were dragged on for 14 months but not one charge could be proven against him.
"He was sentenced twice to life imprisonment but over what? A hijacking case! He was turned into a hijacker then. And now for two years, the Panama cases are being pursued, corruption cases are being pursued. What was he punished for? Not for corruption. He was not punished for corruption or for lying or for misuse of authority: he was punished for not taking a salary from his son Hasan Nawaz Sharif," she said.
Referring to the JIT formed under Wajid Zia's leadership, she claimed that Zia himself had conceded that there was no evidence of corruption against Nawaz in a NAB hearing two days ago which she attended.
She further claimed that Zia had confessed before the court that besides the six persons that formed the probe team, "there were 40 unknown persons who were investigating allegations hiding behind the JIT."
The 40 "unknowns" refers to the experts, analysts and officials the JIT had sought consultations with while it investigated the Sharif family's business dealings.
"He gave his cousin the license to carry investigations against Nawaz Sharif for 50,000 pounds but could not prove a single penny's worth of corruption against him. Instead, he [Zia] left his own trail of corruption behind," she alleged.
In a landmark verdict that will change the course of the country’s political history, the Supreme Court on Friday ruled that disqualification handed down under Article 62 (1)(f) of the Constitution is for life.
According to DawnNewsTV, the verdict was issued unanimously by all five judges of the bench.
Article 62(1)(f), which sets the precondition for a member of parliament to be "sadiq and ameen" (honest and righteous), is the same provision under which former prime minister Nawaz Sharif was disqualified by a five-judge SC bench on July 28, 2017, in the Panama Papers case. Likewise, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader Jahangir Tareen was disqualified on Dec 15 last year by a separate bench of the apex court under the same provision.
Following the verdict, both Sharif and Tareen have been deemed ineligible to hold public office till the courts' respective declarations against them hold.