Nawaz promises change in weeks

Updated 01 Oct 2020

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Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif virtually addresses a meeting of the PML-N's Central Executive Committee. — Photo courtesy Maryam Nawaz Twitter
Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif virtually addresses a meeting of the PML-N's Central Executive Committee. — Photo courtesy Maryam Nawaz Twitter

LAHORE: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday addressed the PML-N Central Executive Committee (CEC) in Model Town here via video-link from London and asked party supporters to stay with him in his struggle for civilian supremacy.

If the nation stays together “the change may take place within weeks,” he declared.

“I refuse to live in my own country like a slave and I will make sure that I live with dignity and pride of a free Pakistani because I have decided to stand up....”

Like his speech at the multi-party conference in Islamabad, Mr Sharif was critical of the role of the army in politics in the CEC address.

He said ‘political victimisation’ had only boosted the spirit of the PML-N and invigorated the struggle even more. He said he was proud of the fact that his companions were braving the extremely challenging times with guts.

Tells Maryam to hold rallies across Punjab

The three-time premier recorded his protest over what his party and leaders had gone through over the last few years. “We showed extreme patience. Finally the time has come to talk… the turning point has come. One day they will have to be accountable for rigging the 2018 polls and sending me and my daughter behind bars.”

He said those who imposed “incompetent and incapable” Imran Khan on the nation must now be regretting their move.

The PML-N leader, who had been in London since November 2019 for medical treatment after securing a four-week bail from the Lahore High Court, talked about ineffectiveness of the parliament. “The role of the parliament has been reduced to a rubber stamp. The parliament today is compromised. Some outsiders give agenda in the parliament. ”

Nawaz Sharif disclosed that he was conveyed a message in the middle of the night by then Director General Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) Lt-Gen Zaheerul Islam during Imran Khan’s sit-in (in Islamabad in 2014) to resign otherwise he would face consequences or martial law could also be imposed.

“I was told to step down and go home. I said whatever you want to do, do it…I will not resign (from the office of the prime minister),” he said.

Mr Sharif said “desired decisions” had been secured from judges through pressure and blackmail. He cited the example of former accountability judge Malik Arshad who convicted him in the Al-Azizia corruption case. “Judge Malik is sent home but his decision stays,” he lamented.

He praised his younger brother Shahbaz Sharif for his contribution to development works in Punjab, especially setting up power plants.

He said Shahbaz’s arrest made him sad. “Instead of the arrest of Shahbaz who belongs to an industrial family, retired Lt-Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa should be nabbed for making billions of rupees assets abroad during the last 15/20 years. So-called prime minister did not accept his resignation and gave him (Asim) a clean chit like former chief justice Saqib Nisar had given a clean chit to Imran Khan.”

Nawaz Sharif said the whole system was being run through a ‘remote-control’. “All decisions of the MPC will be implemented and we will not budge from our stance come what may,” he said.

Meanwhile, Nawaz has reportedly asked his daughter Maryam to hold public meetings in Punjab and the first rally is likely to be in Gujranwala on Oct 16.

Published in Dawn, October 1st, 2020