ABBOTABAD – Pakistan’s former prime minister Nawaz Sharif once again criticised the Supreme Court’s decision to disqualify him for not being honest with the nation, in his first public show after his indictment in the graft references.
“This jalsa (public gathering) is a referendum,” the ousted PM, who leads the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N), said in Abbotabad on Sunday.
Sharif, who faces corruption cases along with his children, asked for public support to challenge the top court’s decision in Panama Papers case, saying “I have come to you (the people of Abbotabad) with a request to reconsider my case.”
It is being widely perceived among political circles that Nawaz Sharif seeks reversal of SC verdict against his disqualification through massive public support, and the latest string of mass contact with people is part of the plan.
Earlier in the day, Sharif reached Islamabad from Lahore in an extensive protocol from where he departed for Murree via a private flight. He held a meeting with the party ally Mahmood Khan Achakzai, who heads Balochistan-based Paktunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PMAP), within the airport premises before leaving for Murree.
The duo discussed the ongoing political situation in the country, according to PML-N sources.
During the Sunday’s gathering in the key city of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sharif also asked for help to “restore the sanctity of vote”, adding that if they supported him (Nawaz Sharif), everything would be changed (for good).
The PML-N president, who formally launched his party’s campaign for the upcoming general election, told his supporters that “no court’s decision can break the ties” between him and his following in Abbottabad.
He recalled developments made by his government since 2013, including infrastructural and power projects. The Haripur motorway to Havelian will be completed shortly, he said. “I may not be prime minister anymore, but the motorway will continue being built.”
People speak of a ‘minus-Nawaz Sharif formula’, he said. “But Nawaz Sharif is an ideology and this ideology will bring revolutionary change across Pakistan,” he claimed.
“Nawaz Sharif is not a loser. If he was a loser, you and I would not be friends,” he told the crowd. “Will you support me in this struggle?”
He also severely criticised the apex court, which he claimed had no qualms about taking an oath from former president Pervez Musharraf. “That’s why the caravan keeps getting looted,” he said, referring to a small quotation in the SC order on the judgement, “And democracy kept going off the rails.”
“Lots of games like this have been played time and time again,” he warned, adding: “Everyone is awake and they will take account of each and everything.”
Nawaz Sharif also hinted at holding ‘a countrywide long march’.