LAHORE: Deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif has made it clear that if rule of law was established in the country as a result of the ‘reconciliation’ policy there would not be a need for hostility (towards the establishment).
“We do not want to fight unnecessarily. If rule of law and constitution is established through reconciliation there will be no need to fight (against the powers that be),” the PML-N supremo told a meeting of the party’s Sahiwal division chapter on Monday through video link from London. “I had no intention to fight but I was forced to go down that path.”
Since PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif advocates the reconciliation narrative in the party, Nawaz remarked during the meeting that he did not oppose his younger brother’s wish provided the country sees rule of law as a result of it (reconciliation).
There has been much discussion about two narratives within the PML-N – agitation (against the establishment introduced by Nawaz Sharif) and Shehbaz’s reconciliation. Often party leaders supporting Nawaz’s narrative embarrass Shehbaz’s followers. Recently, the PML-N issued a show-cause notice to its MNA from Sheikhupura, Javed Latif, for indirectly criticising and embarrassing Shehbaz and some other party leaders, alleging they worked on “assignments” by the establishment.
A party leader told Dawn that Nawaz Sharif’s statement carried a message for the establishment that the fight he picked up against it over a year ago from London might end if an assurance was given that the next general polls would be free and fair and those elected in the wake of it allowed to work without interference.
Continuing his criticism of the institutions, Nawaz once again mentioned during the meeting how the Results Transmission System had been compromised to “steal” the 2018 elections, politicians forced to switch loyalties, judiciary controlled and the press gagged in the country.
Mr Sharif, who has been living in London since November 2019 for his ‘medical treatment’, claimed that the office of prime minister had been disgraced so much that no one with self-respect aspired for it.
“The public representatives who work hard for the welfare of the people are sent home in a minute,” he said, and asked those who wished to end his political career to realise they had failed on that front. “If I was not sent home on iqama(Panama Papers case), Pakistan would have been progressing today,” he regretted.
Nawaz Sharif also took on Prime Minister Imran Khan for what he called poor economic policies that resulted in high inflation and price hike, making the lives of the masses miserable.“This man (the PM) would lecture on corruption from atop a container, and today he is surrounded by corrupt people himself. He appointed corrupt people on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor that resulted in its slow progress,” he said and lamented the value of rupee had reduced to Rs64 against a US dollar during the current regime showing how corrupt the premier was as per his own standards of corruption.
PML-N vice president Maryam Nawaz said during the meeting that her father only criticised ‘some people’ of an institution. “This criticism does not reflect his anger, but his ideology,” she clarified, adding that the PML-N would at any cost have to ensure respect for the ballot.
The meeting was also attended by Ahsan Iqbal, Rana Sanaullah, Hamza Shehbaz, Awais Leghari and Azma Bokhari.
Published in Dawn, September 28th, 2021