ISLAMABAD – In shocking revelations, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif claimed that a message from the head of an intelligence agency was conveyed to him during 2014 sit-ins that he should resign or go on an extended leave.
Sharif, who had warned of exposing hidden faces on right time, revealed this during his testimony at the accountability court in Avenfield reference, filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in the light of the Panamagate verdict.
He said that challenges and pressure ramped up on him as the treason case was initiated against former president General (retd) Pervez Musharraf. He added that corruption references against him were the punishment of the case against Musharraf.
Without sharing the name of the intelligence agency, Nawaz said he went upset when he received the message from an employee of an institution directly worked under the prime minister.
Taking aim on PPP co-chairman, the former premier said that Asif Ali Zardari conveyed him a message, asking him to make the parliament endorse the second martial law by Musharraf, adding that he, however, refused the suggestion.
The sole purpose of the 2014 sit-ins, staged by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT), was to oust him in order to wrap up the case against the former military ruler, Nawaz said. During the protests, PTV, parliament, PM House, President House none of them were safe from the agitators.
Explaining the situation, the former premier recalled: “I met Imran Khan at his Bani Gala residence with two of my friends in March 2014, just two months before the sit-in. The meeting was held in a pleasant atmosphere and Khan neither talked about any political rigging in elections nor hinted at any protest”.
As the case against Musharraf was initiated, Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri held a meeting in London and announced to launch a protest on the bases of alleged rigging in 2013 general elections, he said.
It is not more secret that who urged PTI and PAT to demand his resignation during the sit-ins and who had been encouraged them for four months, he said.
“Khan himself talked about an umpire’s finger being raised. Who was that umpire?” he asked.
“I was determined to get convicted a dictator because dictatorship left deep cuts on Pakistan,” he said, adding, “Two or three generals take decisions about breaking the Constitution but the cost was paid by the whole institution”.
Nawaz said that he ever respected country’s armed forces and preferred to boost professional capability of the army during his tenure.
Avenfield Case Proceedings
The former prime minister has completed his testimony on the third day following a questionnaire comprising 129 questions asked by the accountability court.
During Tuesday’s hearing, Nawaz had denied being involved in any business dealings with the Qatari family, adding that he is not involved in settlement of Avenfield properties either.
He also added that Qatari Prince Hamad bin Jasim Al Thani had never declined to join proceedings of the Panamagate Joint Investigation Team (JIT).
At Monday’s hearing, Nawaz said it was inappropriate to include officers spy agencies in the Panamagate joint investigation team (JIT) as he is recording his statement in the Avenfield case before the accountability court.
After his testimony, co-accused, Maryam Nawaz, and Captain (retd) Safdar are expected to record their statements.
Besides Avenfield reference, other two references filed by the accountability watchdog pertain to Hill Metal Establishment, offshore companies including Flagship Investment Ltd, and Al Azizia steel mills.
Nawaz Sharif and his sons Hussain and Hasan are accused in all three references whereas his daughter Maryam and son-in-law MNA Capt (retd) Safdar are named in the Avenfield reference only.