- Deposed PM says would’ve made ‘Naya Pakistan’ if he wasn’t ousted from office
- Lashes out at PPP govt in Sindh, asks why it did not initiate Karachi operation on its own
- Former premier requests court for joint recording of JIT head’s statements in three graft cases
ISLAMABAD: Deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Monday criticised his nemesis, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan for pushing “someone else’s agenda” during the power show held by the opposition party in Lahore a day before, on Sunday.
Addressing reporters outside the accountability court after the hearing of the corruption proceedings against him and his family, Nawaz also alleged that the crowd seen at the venue was not from Lahore or the province, but had been brought from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).
Continuing his criticism of the opposition party, the deposed prime minister claimed that all have witnessed the ‘progress’ made by the PTI-led government in KP.
“Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) always furthered the agenda of progress and I would have changed Pakistan for the better had I not been ousted,” lamented the disqualified premier, adding that Punjab excels in development when compared with Sindh, KP and Balochistan.
Nawaz also lamented that Pakistan ranks last in the development of good foreign relations with neighbouring countries. “We have learned nothing from the past. India and China are developing friendly relations with each other,” he added.
The PML-N government had not appointed a foreign minister after coming to power in 2013 and appointed Khawaja Asif nine months earlier. Asif now stands disqualified after an IHC verdict.
Once again expressing his disapproval of the judicial system, the deposed premier reiterated that he was disqualified on the basis of an Iqama. “The judges disqualified Khawaja Asif with a heavy heart,” he commented, adding, “I’m not happy to have a burden on my heart, how are they?”
Nawaz claimed the cases were fake and that their results will not be accepted.
Addressing party lawmakers alongside PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif later in the day, Nawaz vowed to not bow down to machinations against him, but to fight them.
“If you all backed me, then we will definitely win this battle,” he said. Nawaz’s daughter Maryam and Shehbaz’s son MNA Hamza Shehbaz were also in attendance along with other party leaders.
Turning his guns towards the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Nawaz said it was not an easy task to clamp down on terrorism and questioned why the PPP did not initiate the Karachi Operation in 2013 on its own.
“It was the responsibility of the Sindh government to eradicate terrorism from Karachi,” he said, adding, “Today, it has been 10 years since the PPP has been ruling in Sindh province. I want to ask what the Sindh government has done so far.
“Didn’t the people give mandate [to them] for putting an end to terrorism, but this too was done by us,” the former premier said, lamenting that the megapolis has turned into a “pile of garbage.”
Referring to PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari, Nawaz said, “Zardari sahib, there are allegations against you of taking the country into the dark ages.” Later, the event was also addressed by PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif.
On Sunday night, unveiling an 11-point agenda for a “new Pakistan”, PTI chief Imran Khan called for establishing Pakistan in the image of the model state of Madina, in Saudi Arabia.
Speaking to a large public gathering at Lahore’s Minar-e-Pakistan, Khan asserted that today’s Pakistan did not match the dream of Allama Iqbal or the Quaid-e-Azam’s vision. The Quaid, he said, had dreamt of a country where all citizens, including all minorities, had equal rights.
Pakistan, Khan said, must choose between dishonour and dignity. Citing the country’s foreign debt, the PTI chief said that it had touched an alarming level, of which half had been incurred over past five years of the PML-N government’s tenure.
The country, he said, was heading towards a default because it lacked sufficient resources to repay its debts.
JOINT RECORDING OF JIT CHIEF’S STATEMENTS:
Earlier in the day, Nawaz filed an appeal in the accountability court for jointly recording the statements of JIT head Wajid Zia in the three graft references against the Sharif family.
“All three references point to a single accusation pertaining to assets in excess of income,” the application read, “we have been demanding a single reference for all three cases since the beginning.”
“Our defence will be clear if his statements are recorded for the said cases,” said Harris, to which National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) prosecutor Sardar Muzzafar stated that NAB wants to complete the trial for the London apartments first. “The defence wants to bulldoze the whole proceedings of the case,” he remarked, “if the defence wants any statement, it can be given by investigation officer Imran Dogar.”
Haris also objected to the offer as it could potentially damage the defence. “The court advised the parties to record joint statements of the witnesses. Instead of recording statement from Wajid Zia, NAB opted to present a statement of its investigation officer for the Avenfield reference,” he said.
After hearing arguments from both sides, Judge Bashir allowed NAB to record statements of Imran Dogar for the Avenfield reference. “The order for the application filed by the defence will be announced later’ the court said.