ISLAMABAD: A day after he was ousted from power, Nawaz Sharif said the Supreme Court has disqualified him as prime minister not over financial corruption but over an unclaimed salary from a Dubai-based company of his son.
A five-judge bench of the apex court unanimously ruled that Nawaz Sharif is not honest in terms of Section 99(f) of ROPA and Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution and therefore disqualified to be a member of parliament.
Speaking at a meeting of PML-N’s parliamentary party, Sharif warned that if not shunned, ‘politics of victimisation’ would spell disaster for the country.
“I have been disqualified on a bizarre charge – not claiming my salary. It’s a predicament – if you receive [money] you are in trouble. And if you don’t, you are still in trouble,” Sharif said in a lighter vein as participants burst into a boisterous laughter. “Is everyone in this country Sadiq (truthful) and Ameen (trustworthy) except just one person?”
Sharif had defied calls for his resignation from opposition parties, saying that he would not show his back and would instead fight the corruption charges against him and his family. “I was advised to step down and fight it out. I said power is not a bed of roses. If I have embezzled a single penny, I should step down. If not, why?”
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The former premier also took a dig at his political arch nemesis, Imran Khan, who had persistently pursued the corruption charges against the Sharif family. “Allah has blessed us with so much since 1937 much before I was born. I don’t want to talk big but these so-called politicians were penniless back then. How did they amass such a fortune in a short span of time?”
Sharif said he was man of principles and would never compromise on his ideals. “I will not give up my agenda of strengthening Pakistan,” he added. “You hang people. You put them in jails. You victimise them. If this continues, God forbid, this country is doomed.” He didn’t name anyone, but he was apparently referring to the powerful military establishment.
He specifically mentioned the 1999 plane hijacking case in which he had been implicated and handed 27-year imprisonment during the regime of military ruler Pervez Musharraf, who had toppled Sharif’s government. “I became a hijacker from prime minister overnight.”
He also recalled his incarceration in the Attock Fort where he and his brother, Shehbaz Sharif, had to spend 14 months after their ouster from power. “It is a nightmare to be in a place like that -- handcuffed all the time. But I’ve no regrets because I had been punished for my ideology of serving the people.”
Sharif said the martial law had been imposed by a handful of people in the security establishment, while the vast majority in the military had not endorsed the decision. “In Attock Fort I used to see soldiers outside my cell raising their hands in prayers for me,” he recalled.
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The former premier said he was not corrupt. “When I decided to conduct nuclear tests in 1998, the then US president Bill Clinton had offered me $5 billion. If I had been dishonest, I would have pocketed that money – but I didn’t,” he claimed.
Sharif claimed credit for restoration of peace in Balochistan, turnaround in the economy, infrastructure development, energy projects – and above all the multibillion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. “Chinese President Xi Jinping once told me, ‘Mr prime minister, CPEC is a gift to you — to you.”
Sharif blamed his rival, Imran Khan, for impeding the country’s march on the road to progress with his politics of agitation. “There was first dharna. Then there was a second dharna. And then this Panama Papers issue was brought up. So much time of the nation has been wasted on frivolous issues.”
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