Nawaz wants ex-judges in dock for his ouster

Published May 19, 2024
PML-N supreme leader Nawaz Sharif addresses a party meeting on May 18. — PML-N/X
PML-N supreme leader Nawaz Sharif addresses a party meeting on May 18. — PML-N/X

• Says Imran joined ‘conspiracy’ against him in 2014 despite meeting
• Shehbaz becomes acting PML-N president for one week

LAHORE: As judges push back against alleged interference in judicial affairs by the military establishment, ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Saturday demanded action against a trio of retired Supreme Court judges who had ousted him from office ahead of the 2018 elections.

The accountability of those who allegedly played a role in his ouster has been one of the persistent dem­ands of the PML-N supreme leader, but this time he did not demand act­ion against former generals, Qamar Javed Bajwa and Faiz Hameed.

In September last year before his return to Pakistan from London where he had been in a self-imposed exile, it was reported that PML-N would not demand the accountability of the former army chief and ex-spymaster in a bid to remain on good terms with the establishment.

Addressing a party general council meeting in the provincial capital, the elder Sharif said he would continue to raise the issue of his disqualification by the Supreme Court.

“Nowhere in the world, do judges send a prime minister or a president home. Under what authority they [judges] had removed me from the party president’s office,” he asked, referring to a court order that barred him from remaining the PML-N president in light of his disqualification under Article 62 and 63.

According to the PML-N leader, “How come three persons can disqualify a prime minister for not taking a salary from his son.” “I will keep on asking this question,” the ex-PM said, seeking an independent probe into his ouster in 2017.

Hitting out at three former judges — former chief justice Saqib Nisar, Ijazul Ahsan and Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi — the PML-N leader sought action, claiming he had an audio clip of ex-CJP Nisar in which he was purportedly saying “we have to oust Nawaz to bring in Imran Khan as the premier”.

He even called for initiating a NAB case against Justice Naqvi for making “illegal” assets. “A case should be lodged against Justice Mazahar Naqvi for making huge assets as well as other judges involved in my ouster,” he said.

Nation’s silence on ouster

Nawaz Sharif, who is going to be re-elected as the PML-N president on May 28 after six years, also expressed his dissatisfaction with the nation for not giving his party enough seats in the Feb 8 polls and remaining silent on his ouster as the PM.

He expressed his disappointment with the nation for remaining silent after his ouster in 2017. “I want to lodge a complaint with the nation as to why it stood silent when I was illegally removed from the office of the prime minister. I want an answer from the nation,” he complained.

During the speech, he also talked about how former ISI chief Zaheerul Islam went to London in 2014 and made a plan with cleric Dr Tahirul Qadri regarding a sit-in in Islamabad against his government.

He said he had gone to Imran Khan at his residence in Banigala, where the PTI leader agreed to go along with him but later he joined the “conspirators” against the PML-N government.

The three-time premier has been keeping a low profile after his party failed to secure a majority in the general elections held on Feb 8 this year. However, he has recently been seen chairing Punjab government meetings and issuing directions to bureaucrats and ministers.

Acting president

In the meeting, PM Shehbaz Sharif was made an acting president of PML-N for over a week, till May 28. The younger Sharif resigned last week to pave the way for his brother to become the party chief, again. Since the election for the coveted post on May 28, he has been given the charge, again, to look after the ruling party till his brother assumes the charge.

Speaking on the occasion, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said his elder brother had kept the party alive.

He said a great injustice was done to separate Nawaz from the PML-N presidency, adding that the “conspiracy” against the Nawaz government had landed Pakistan into economic trouble.

The premier said he had requested the elder Sharif to become prime minister after Feb 8 polls, but he asked him to take this responsibility.

Published in Dawn, May 19th, 2024

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