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ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif has claimed that the sit-in held by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and the Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) in 2014, which had paralysed the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz-led government for nearly four months, was backed by certain “big names” which, the PML-N supremo said, he would reveal at an appropriate time.

Talking to journalists before the start of proceedings in the Al-Azizia reference in the accountability court of Islamabad, Mr Sharif said those big names had backed Mr Qadri, as well as Mr Khan.

Commenting on the PTI’s dismissal of his request for a national commission to ascertain who was a traitor or a patriot, Mr Sharif said the PTI neither had character, nor a constructive or positive ideology.

The PTI was a dharna party, the PML-N leader said, which was always ready to hurl allegations, bad-mouth political parties and stage sit-ins. He added that the PTI was always looking out for the “empire’s finger”.

PML-N leaders planning mass contact campaigns ahead of elections

Contrary to the PTI’s slogan of creating a “new Pakistan”, the former prime minister said it was a shame that the party had not managed to bring anything meaningful to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Mr Sharif added that the PTI had destroyed the old Pakistan, but nobody was satisfied with the progress it had made in KP. This party had no faith or slogan symbolising the respect for vote, he further said.

After attending proceedings of the accountability court, the supreme leader of the PML-N met party leaders, including PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif at the Punjab House.

PML-N leaders Pervez Rashid, Khawaja Saad Rafique, Khurram Dastagir Khan, Khawaja Mohammad Asif, Barjees Tahir, Mushahidullah Khan, Sardar Mehtab Abbasi and Maryam Nawaz attended the meeting.

Sources said that at the meeting, the PML-N’s leadership reviewed the prevailing political situation, especially the ongoing controversy on the ex-premier’s remarks regarding non-state actors which, they claimed, had been distorted by Indian media. They also discussed the caretaker setup and activities of the party’s main leadership after dissolution of the National Assembly and the Punjab Assembly on May 31.

According to the sources, Mr Sharif sought suggestions for an effective election campaign and finalised the schedule for mass contact campaigns across the country.

The party’s central executive committee (CEC) on May 11 finalised the schedule for the election campaign during Ramazan. The sources said Mr Sharif, Shahbaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz and Hamza Shahbaz would attend workers’ conventions in several parts of the country and would have Iftar with them after these sessions.

Published in Dawn, May 17th, 2018