Sharif calls ouster ‘insult to voters’

Deposed PM says five judges disqualified 200 million people

News Desk/our Correspondent August 10, 2017

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A defiant Nawaz Sharif on Thursday criticised the judiciary for forcing him to quit as prime minister, saying it was an ‘insult’ to 200 million people of Pakistan that their elected leader was unceremoniously ousted with a single stroke of pen.

A five-member Supreme Court bench last month disqualified Sharif for dishonesty and ruled that corruption cases be filed against him and his children over the Panama Papers scandal.

“It is an insult to 200,000 people of Pakistan. You voted for me, but the five honourable judges sent me home with a single stroke of a pen,” Sharif told his supporters in Jhelum on the second day of his journey from Islamabad to Lahore via the Grand Trunk (GT) Road.

“There is no charge of corruption or embezzlement against me. May I ask why I have been ousted?” the former prime minister said.

Sharif said it was pity that none of the prime ministers in the 70-year history of the country had been allowed to complete their tenure.

“Every prime minister in this country was given one-and-a-half-year tenure, on average, to govern. Some were executed, some jailed, some handcuffed, and some exiled,” he said.

On the other hand, dictators were allowed to rule for decades and the judges even allowed them to rule, Sharif said.

“Is there any court in the country to hold a dictator accountable? One of them [Gen Pervez Musharraf] went out for medical treatment for a backache and never came back to face cases,” he said.

Sharif said that every time the country was pulled back when it reached a takeoff stage.

“This country cannot go like this. The country was making progress. We were making progress and once again it has strangled,” he told his supporters amid chants of “Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif” and “We love you”.

He said he was not seeking restoration, rather, his struggle was to institute “respect for the mandate of the people”.

Sharif also ventured onto an open stage to deliver the speech rather than staying in the bombproof container he spoke from on Wednesday.

Sharif would stay in Jhelum on Thursday and resume his onward journey to Lahore Friday morning.

Nawaz says people of Pakistan have rejected his disqualification

Speedy convoy

Earlier, Sharif’s convoy left Rawalpindi at about 12:30pm and went to Jhelum without making any stops on GT Road, leaving hundreds of PML-N workers waiting for him at different spots.

After spending the night at Punjab House in Rawalpindi, the former PM left for Jhelum as a crowd of around 400 people waved him off on Rashid Minhas Road. When the convoy left for Jhelum, Senator Chaudhry Tanveer, former MNA Hanif Abbasi, and Rawalpindi Mayor Sardar Naseem were among the local leaders accompanying him.

According to the initial plan, the convoy was supposed to stop at Kuchehry Chowk, where lawyers associated with PML-N had set up a reception stage for their leader. Then, the convoy was to make a stop outside Ayub National Park on Jhelum Road. Further, PML-N supporters were also waiting at Rawat, Mandra and Gujar Khan, but the convoy passed by without stopping.

When they crossed the Soan River Bridge near the high court, vehicles in the convoy started challenging the speed limit before making a short pit stop in the town of Dina and then moving on to nearby Jhelum, where the former prime minister made a speech.

Meanwhile, although former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan was expected to welcome Sharif at Rawat along with party workers, he was not present there, with a source citing health issues.

In addition, sources said many local leaders and workers in Rawalpindi complained to Sharif about the unfavorable attitude of senior party officials from the city.

Most of the complaints were against former MNA Hanif Abbasi and his lack of interest in addressing issues such as civic problems, encroachments, and plans for infrastructure development at UC level, or addressing the grievances of party workers.

Political observers suggested that Sharif’s Rawalpindi rally a day earlier could be deemed unsuccessful because of the relatively low local attendance in the crowd. They said a large number of party workers came from K-P, Murree, AJK and other areas. They noted that if Sharif had been satisfied with the attendance, he would have addressed them in Liaqat Bagh instead of at Committee Chowk.


With additional input from Our Correspondents


sterry | 4 years ago | Reply @qaisar malik: My prayers are also for the PM. He was disrespected by institutions who do not respect the wishes of majority of voters who like his performance and improved economy.
Pakistani | 4 years ago | Reply @Imtiaz: Over reacted??!! As they say "if you think education is expensive, try ignorance".
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