LAHORE: Sticking to his narrative of vote ko izzat do, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif has exhorted his party’s social media team not to be deterred by anything while exposing the “unconstitutional forces” occupying all sectors of the country.

He said it was no longer possible to suppress anyone’s voice in the age of social media.

“Make the pledge by putting your hands to your hearts that despite all the oppression you will carry forward Nawaz Sharif’s narrative with unity and fearlessly will continue exposing the unconstitutional forces annihilating freedom of expression and occupying all sectors of life,” he said while addressing PML-N’s social media convention here on Sunday through video link from London.

The main opposition party’s supreme leader, whose address was broadcast only on social media, said that after proscribing telecast of his speeches by the electronic media, the same forces were trying to impose restrictions on social media too, to stop the coverage. This was being done only because “I have asked a few of the characters, who have never honoured the law of land and the Constitution, to reform themselves”, he said.

Says it is no longer possible to suppress anyone’s voice

While appreciating officers and jawans of the armed forces, he said he was exposing “only a few characters” by making public the names of those “who had always been playing from behind the curtains and hatching conspiracies, those who created a state above the state and plundered the national wealth to build their fortunes in America”.

He asked party activists if it was treason “to expose those who violated the Constitution, stole public mandates sometimes by disappearing ballot boxes or manipulating the election result announcing system”. He regretted that no elected prime minister was allowed to complete his constitutional term in power in the country by these forces. “Until now, none of the prime ministers has been allowed to complete his constitutional term.”

He said: “Every few years, democracy is attacked in midnight operations and martial law imposed. The law of ‘might is right’ has been enforced. Those who created the country are declared traitors. Elected leaders are handcuffed and imprisoned. Guides are labelled as robbers [through propaganda]. Is this Pakistan of the Quaid-i-Azam?” he asked.

Referring to the criticism over his speeches in recent months in which he repeatedly accused the military leadership of interfering in governance, the PML-N supremo said: “Undemocratic forces have started propaganda through social media that Nawaz Sharif’s narrative is empowering enemies of the country. The same undemocratic forces have annihilated freedom of expression in the country, strangled the poor, crushing them with price hike and led to unprecedented unemployment in the country.”

He lamented that instead of solving problems being faced by the masses, the undemocratic forces were taking pains only to see how to stop Nawaz Sharif [from speaking]. But, he said, the world had changed from what it had been 10 years ago. He said it was no longer possible to suppress anyone’s voice. “Social media is free to quite an extent despite recently approved rules,” he said, calling upon the audience to work for keeping this freedom intact.

He also thanked the participants in the convention for keeping his and the party’s honour. “From 2017 till now, in the country’s most difficult times, the way you have courageously worked, fought the army of trolls created in the name of fifth generation war, and endured the difficulties for the rule of law is a golden part of our struggle,” he said.

Published in Dawn, December 7th, 2020

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