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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supreme leader Nawaz Sharif on Monday said the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf in its “mother of all rallies” had to bring a rented crowd from Peshawar to advance a borrowed agenda as it failed to attract the residents of Lahore.

Jalsa Lahore da, Majma Peshawar da, Agenda kisi hor da,” said Mr Sharif while commenting on the PTI’s power show in Lahore on Sunday evening. “The PTI’s manifesto is the reflection of Imran Khan’s politics,” the ousted prime minister said after attending the Avenfield reference proceeding in the accountability court of Islamabad.

Mr Sharif said Mr Khan would repeat the same style of governance elsewhere in the country as the PTI had delivered in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa since the last general elections. He claimed that Punjab witnessed unprecedented development under the PML-N rule.

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“There is no comparison of Lahore with other provincial capitals,” he remarked.

“It doesn’t matter if I cannot inaugurate the new Islamabad International Airport and Shahid Khaqan will do that but it is part of our services rendered for the country,” said the former prime minister.

He added the Lahore-Multan motorway was also ready to be inaugurated.

He claimed that the PML-N could turn the country into a ‘new Pakistan’ if it was given 10 to 20 years.

Making remarks critical of Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar, he said: “I know this will be censored, but I must say it as a matter of record.”

“This has not happened anywhere else in the world, not even in Bangladesh,” he added.

‘Turncoats won’t succeed’

Later addressing party workers, the PML-N supreme leader expressed his apprehension that a court might convict him in some case.

He asked them to mobilise people in every nook and corner of the country during Ramazan and get ready to defeat the turncoats in the upcoming general elections.

He was of the opinion that a plan was afoot to implicate him in another case if the accountability court acquitted him in the references filed against him by the National Accountability Court (NAB) on the direction of the Supreme Court.

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“The next case is related to the widening of a road from 20 feet to 24 feet,” he said.

Criticising Pakistan Peoples Party co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari, the PML-N supreme leader said that the former was equally responsible for the country’s problems. He said he had to visit Karachi himself to inquire the situation.

Recalling the disclosure by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervez Khattak about the ‘order from the top’, Mr Sharif said Mr Khattak had to spin on the statement after being criticised for it. Mr Khattak later said he meant Banigala when he talked about the orders from the top for voting in the Senate elections. Referring to the allegations of horse-trading in the Senate elections, the former prime minister said the “hired lawmakers voted for an alien for the top slot of the upper house”.

He alleged that the Balochistan government was sent packing to bring Sadiq Sanjrani as Senate chairman.

“I will not accept this and will stand up to fight. People of Pakistan will support us and if we step back, people will not forgive us,” he said, adding that it was a defining moment in the history of Pakistan.

He said the PML-N slogan of ‘Respect to vote’ resonated with everyone and vowed to spend Ramazan with the people by visiting various districts of Punjab and other provinces as part of election campaign.

Published in Dawn, May 1st, 2018