LAHORE – Former Prime Minister of Pakistan Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif on Friday sought the reversal of the Panama case verdict that led to his disqualification on July 28.
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Addressing a lawyers convention in the provincial capital, the deposed premier threw a barrage of questions, raising suspicions about the verdict claiming that the judgment was based on ‘faulty legal grounds’.
Nawaz Sharif, who showed up at the convention, was welcomed by a bevy of lawyers who had gathered to express solidarity with one of their colleagues, Sher Zaman Qureshi, against whom non-bailable arrest warrants were issued by Chief Justice Lahore High Court Mansoor Ali Shah.
Taking the floor, the former premier inquired how could the two judges, who disqualified him, in their dissenting notes on April 20, be a part of the five-member bench that disqualified him on July 28.
“One verdict was given on April 20, the other was given on July 28. And you know the technicalities of the verdict better than me,” he said.
“Were two judges, who did not go though the JIT report qualified to pass the Panama case verdict?” he asked and wondered whether the top court formulated any such JIT for investigations.
“Did it ever happen that investigators were selected through a WhatsApp call?” he said and added that the core objective was to create an environment of confrontation.
Calling the Supreme Court-ordered investigation against him and members of his family “suspicious,” he questioned why a joint investigation team was constituted and why intelligence agencies were given a role in the investigation when there has been “no precedent of such agencies being involved in matters other than those of national security.”
“I did my part and stepped down from the prime minister’s seat, but I have not accepted it and neither has the nation.”
Sharif expressed that he was not concerned about the effect the verdict will have on him but said he cared about the precedent that will be set in the country.
“The verdict will remembered as unjust,” he said. “Verdicts like these have negative effects on the justice system.”
He contended that his name was not mentioned in the Panama Papers and the top court initially termed the petitions ‘frivolous’ in this regard.
Sharif claimed that he was fighting the case of democracy and masses before a bigger court.
“The purpose of my struggle is to change the fate of 200 million people,” he vowed.
The former legislator, who was disqualified for concealing his employment with Capital FZE, a firm owned by his younger son Hassan Nawaz, cited ‘overturning mandate of people’ as the reason behind the fall of Dhaka.
Nawaz Sharif also proposed initiation of a national dialogue to uphold civilian supremacy and promote a culture of debate.
‘PML-N has decided to formulate a committee for national dialogue’ said Nawaz Sharif.
The former ruler lauded the members of the legal fraternity for their struggle against dictatorship and recalled that ‘in the movement [against Pervez Musharraf], lawyers had been at the forefront.’
‘You people ran a movement and sacrificed your lives so that the country may be free of dictators,’ Sharif said.
He claimed that the movement against dictatorship served all the people of the country, not just a small group.