Nawaz accuses Imran of backstabbing in 2013, says PTI should’ve shared reservations rather than ‘hatch conspiracy’

Published May 18, 2024
PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif addresses the PML-N’s Central Working Committee in Lahore on Saturday. — DawnNewsTV
PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif addresses the PML-N’s Central Working Committee in Lahore on Saturday. — DawnNewsTV

PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif on Saturday accused incarcerated PTI founder Imran Khan of “backstabbing” him in 2013 by carrying out protest rallies despite initially assuring him of his cooperation post-elections.

Addressing a meeting of the PML-N’s Central Working Committee (CWC) in Lahore, Nawaz said that upon assuming power in 2013, the first thing he did was go and visit Imran at his residence in Banigala to agree on a working relationship for the country’s sake.

Despite the understanding, Nawaz said, Imran went to London, along with other political figures of the time, and then a “plot was hatched”, after which protests were launched in the country upon the PTI founder’s return.

The PML-N supremo said he was left befuddled by the development and said he should have been informed and told about the matter or whatever the PTI’s reservations were.

“I visit you and you stab me in the back by assuring cooperation and then you begin protests in Islamabad’s D-Chowk?”

Nawaz said his cabinet members had called for police force against the protests but he had told them to desist. Despite this, Nawaz said his government managed to secure the historic China Pakistan Economic Corridor project.

The PML-N supremo said it was a “matter of record” that his government had not impeded the formation of the PTI government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa after the 2013 elections despite being in the position to do so through a coalition.

Nawaz said he was omitting a lot of details and only wanted to ask one thing, “three people sit down and disqualify a prime minister representing 250 million people for life.”

He said judges could not remove prime ministers or presidents in any other country of the world but here he was removed on a “small matter of not taking salary from my son”. “Who will answer for this?” he said, adding that he had the right to ask this question.

Nawaz also referred to the early resignations of former Supreme Court judges Ijazul Ahsan and Mazahar Naqvi, saying they should be questioned why they resigned before their tenures and that legal proceedings should be conducted against the latter for his alleged financial misconduct.

“We call for accountability of those who destroyed and ruined Pakistan.”

Regaling the economic performance of his past government tenures, Nawaz asked the nation which political party had best served them and said it should think about these matters before casting their votes.

“I have the right to ask my nation this question that do you think before voting what Nawaz Sharif’s performance was and what was that of his opponents? … the nation should answer this. I have a slight complaint with the nation as well. A prime minister is removed in a false case of not taking a salary from his son and the nation stays silent, this is not right.”

Nawaz said he was very happy to see the PML-N leaders gathered during the event. He said it had been some time since the PML-N collective had last assembled in such numbers.

“It is very good that the leadership of every province is present here. We have gathered after a long time,” he said, adding that everyone had faced problems of their own from exile to fraudulent legal proceedings.

He commended his party leaders for bravely facing their tribulations, adding that the party’s fortunes had now reversed and PML-N workers once facing cases were now sitting in the assemblies with some holding constitutional offices as well.

Nawaz said false cases against the party were “exposed”. He concluded his speech by lauding the performance of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and predicting a turnaround in the country’s fortunes.

Before him, the prime minister said he was at peace with stepping down and wanted his brother to assume the party presidency

“You stood with my brother when he went through cruelty and injustice,” he said referring to Nawaz’s disqualification and subsequent exile in 2017.

“Someone had to take charge during that difficult time. I was honoured that you allowed me to do so,” he said to a round of applause.

Shehbaz expressed that his brother was the ideal candidate to assume leadership of the PML-N, listing his accomplishments and feats throughout his political career. “You took the party from zero to 100 and kept us united,” he said.

Among the accomplishments mentioned in the address were how Nawaz’s administration eradicated terrorism, made Pakistan an atomic power and “made peasants landowners” in interior Sindh.

Shehbaz extolled his brother’s bravery in the face of exile in 1999 and 2018, adding that he “kept the PML-N alive”. “You made Pakistan a home for the PML-N,” the PM said to his brother. “I say these things not because you’re my brother, but because it’s the truth.”

The CWC earlier accepted PM Shehbaz’s resignation from the party’s presidency and nominated him as acting president.

On Monday, PM Shehbaz had stepped aside from the PML-N presidency, stating that “the time has come” for his brother to retake his “rightful place as the president of the party”.

Nawaz was removed as the president of the party in 2018 after a Supreme Court (SC) bench headed by then-chief justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar ruled that an individual disqualified under Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution cannot serve as head of a political party.

Last month, the PML-N’s Punjab President Rana Sanaullah requested Nawaz to assume its presidency after his relief in legal cases against him.

PML-N’s General Council has been convened at 11am on May 28, which is when Nawaz will be elected president, according to party leadership.

Rana Sanaullah has been nominated as the party’s chief election commissioner.

The developments came as the party held a meeting in Model Town, Lahore, which lasted more than an hour and a half.

The meeting was attended by several PML-N leaders, including Punjab Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz, Foreign Minster and Deputy Prime Minister Ishaq Dar, Khawaja Saad Rafique, as well as more than 109 members of the CWK from all four provinces, Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan.

In the meeting, which was presided over by PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal, the acceptance of Shehbaz’s resignation was announced. Praise was meted out for taking care of the party for seven years.

Following that, Shehbaz’s name was proposed by party leaders as party president, which was supported by other members, including Nawaz.

According to party leadership, Nawaz will be the final president of the party, but in keeping with party rules, Shehbaz was nominated as party president.

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