Ousted PM tells Abbasi, Shehbaz not to worry as his legal team will rip apart ‘weak’ graft references
Any attempt aimed at executing minus-Nawaz formula would not be acceptable to party leaders, moot decides
Statements on party policy will now be given by Sharif brothers, not their respective children
ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Nawaz Sharif has informed his close associates at the London huddle that all the ‘fabricated cases’ against him would soon meet their ultimate end, and he would come out clean from all allegations.
Chairing the extraordinary huddle in London on Monday, Nawaz Sharif said his legal team was ready to blow away the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) references filed against him, which were “flawed” and contained “grave legal blunders”.
An informed source in the ruling party revealed to Pakistan Today that Nawaz told his younger brother Shehbaz Sharif and Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi not to worry about his fate, as he was fully prepared to fight back.
“Nawaz Sharif told the meeting that he would fight back. The NAB references against him carried glaring legal blunders, and his legal team had evolved a strategy to deal a blow to the NAB references,” the source said.
The ruling party leader said that the former prime minister also referred to the legal gaffes made in the reference filed against Ishaq Dar, saying that references against him carried similar legal errors as was the case with reference filed against the finance minister.
Nawaz also warned those party leaders of ‘consequences’ who were planning to stage a rebellion against him, the source said.
“Those challenging me today would have to face humiliation soon,” former PM said, adding he would be victorious in all court cases being filed against him. Though Sharif did not mention whom he was referring to as no rival group had yet emerged from the ruling party ranks, political commentators believe Sharif was referring to the likes of Riaz Pirzada and Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, who have been voicing dissent against elder Sharif.
The source said that perhaps the legal team of Sharif—headed by Khawaja Haris—had identified some technical lacunae in the NAB references filed against Sharif. The ruling family has also challenged the indictment of Nawaz Sharif in Islamabad High Court in all four references filed against elder Sharif.
Maryam Nawaz, the expected political heiress to Sharif, echoed her sentiments on Twitter in a similar defiant voice.
“Insha’Allah but the fact that PML-N alone is giving ALL its opponents restless, sleepless nights reflects the victory it is clinching,” she wrote on Twitter.
Insha’Allah but the fact that PMLN alone is giving ALL its opponents restless, sleepless nights reflects the victory it is clinching. https://t.co/ZXGS10yjqu
— Maryam Nawaz Sharif (@MaryamNSharif) October 30, 2017
Earlier, on Tuesday, Nawaz Sharif, commenting on the debate surrounding the minus-Nawaz formula for PML-N, remarked that it is the decision of the nation and not individuals.
He said, “Nation has the say on the decisions surrounding minus and plus formulas,” adding, “Individuals cannot take such decisions on their own.”
SHEHBAZ SHARIF TO BE NEXT PM:
Meanwhile, the high-level huddle of PML-N in London also decided that if victorious in next year’s general elections, the party’s prime ministerial candidate will be Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif.
According to sources, it was decided in the meeting that statements on party policy will now be given by the Sharif brothers and not their respective children—Maryam Nawaz and Hamza Shehbaz.
During the meeting, which reportedly lasted over three hours and was held at Nawaz’s son Hasan Nawaz’s office, Shehbaz and the prime minister attempted to convince Nawaz to avoid clashing with state institutions, especially so close to next year’s general elections.
Agreeing with the proposal, sources said Nawaz was of the opinion that one cannot be expected to stay quiet if an injustice has been meted out to them.
Moreover, PM Abbasi and Punjab CM Shehbaz have been directed to improve relations with state institutions and also place the PML-N’s grievances before them.
Commenting on the situation, a senior journalist said the meeting was held in London as Nawaz wanted to speak freely. He contended that there was a difference of opinion on the way forward between the party and government.
He also informed that the meeting was attended by Foreign Minister Asif Khawaja and Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal.
Quoting sources, ARY News reported that Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif will run for a National Assembly seat in the next general elections.
Sources said the moot decided that any attempt aimed at executing minus-Nawaz formula or any action in contrast to the constitution would not be acceptable to the party leaders and workers.
The ruling party has been reeling from reports of rifts within the ruling family and party over the leadership vacuum created in the aftermath of the July 28 disqualification verdict.
Lately, the former prime minister’s daughter Maryam Nawaz Sharif told a foreign newspaper that the family had decided to give her a leading role in the party—which she denied saying hours after her statement made headlines in Pakistan.
She further said the PML-N was not a “divided house.”
Maryam and her uncle Shehbaz Sharif seemed to have emerged as possible heir to the party after the elder Sharif’s disqualification, with some senior party leaders questioning her credentials to head the party.
The rumours of a rivalry between Maryam and her cousin Hamza Shehbaz Sharif had also been doing rounds since the ouster of her father and the by-election on Sharif’s vacated seat in the National Assembly.
There were also reports that the Punjab chief minister earlier this month mediated between the two cousins in a bid to quell the rumours of a rift within the family.
It is crucial to mention here that after Nawaz’s disqualification, he named his brother Shehbaz as his successor and nominated ex-oil minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi as an interim premier in a defiant speech on July 29.
“I support Shehbaz Sharif after me but he will take time to contest elections so for the time being I nominate Shahid Khaqan Abbasi,” former PM said in a televised speech to his party.