May 9 mayhem a bid to foment mutiny in army: Shehbaz

Published November 30, 2023
Former prime minister Shehbaz Sharif speaks to media in Lahore on Wednesday — DawnNewsTV
Former prime minister Shehbaz Sharif speaks to media in Lahore on Wednesday — DawnNewsTV

LAHORE: Former prime minister Shehbaz Sharif on Wednesday said the May 9 riots by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) was a conspiracy to cause mutiny in the army.

“When the conspiracy was hatched against this country and a sinister attempt was made to create a revolt in the military, all Pakistan condemned it,” Shehbaz asserted talking to the journalists outside an accountability court. He said the facilitation of perpetrators of the May 9 episode amounted to committing treason against the country.

“It should be kept in mind that democracy does not tolerate treason,” he added.

The former premier stated that they always respected the judiciary and considered their appearances before the courts a duty in the pursuit of justice. He said the hardships faced by Nawaz Sharif, his entire Sharif family and the leaders of the PML-N were part of the record.

Shehbaz said Nawaz Sharif endured imprisonment, faced trials, saw his daughter arrested before him, opted for voluntary exile not once but twice, and today, upon returning to the country, he (Nawaz) presented himself before the law.

Appears in court in reopened Ramzan mills reference

The PML-N president said only Nawaz Sharif’s governments were unlawfully ousted, not anyone else’s so that the journey of progress and prosperity could be halted.

“You can see where Pakistan stands today after six years,” he said, recalling the last dethroning of his elder brother through judiciary.

To a query about timely conduct of general elections in the country, Shehbaz said the elections will take place at the designated time as this was the intent of the law and the democracy.

Regarding the demand of the PTI for level playing field, the former premier said he and Nawaz Sharif were still appearing before the courts in pursuit of justice.

“What more level playing field can there be?” he asked the journalists.

Complaining about the political victimisation, Shehbaz said, unlike previous leaders, he did not draw salary or allowances as prime minister or chief minister. He claimed to have paid foreign travel and accommodation expenses from his pocket.

“I am not claiming to be perfect, but I have always served the people with absolute honesty and strived to save every penny of the public money,” he said.

Shehbaz had come to the court to attend the proceedings of the Ramzan Sugar Mills reference reopened by the NAB.

The accountability court had on Oct 31 summoned Shehbaz and his son former chief minister Hamza Shehbaz.

Hamza did not appear as his lawyer filed an application for one-time exemption from personal appearance on medical grounds.

During the hearing, Shehbaz said the sugar mills case had been pending for many years.

The PML-N president said first he was implicated in the Saaf Pani Project, then arrested in the Ashiana-i-Iqbal Housing Scheme case and later arrested in another reference.

“But by the grace of Allah, I have been acquitted,” he told the court.

He said the drain in question had been constructed on the request of a former MPA, who later passed away.

Judge Ali Zulqernain Awan adjourned further hearing till Dec 12.

The judge also allowed the application of Hamza.

The NAB had reopened the reference that was earlier closed under the defunct amendments in the National Accountability Ordinance 1999. Later, the Supreme Court had struck down the amendments.

In this reference, the NAB had arrested Shehbaz on Oct 5, 2018 and the Lahore High Court had released on bail on Feb 14, 2019.

The NAB alleged that Shehbaz being the chief minister and his son Hamza with the abetment and connivance of each other caused a loss to national exchequer of Rs213 million by committing the offence of misuse of authority.

It said Shehbaz had issued a directive for the construction of a drain in Chiniot district primarily for the use of Ramzan Sugar Mills owned by his sons- Hamza and Suleman.

Published in Dawn, November 30th, 2023

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