ISLAMABAD: Telling its supporters to celebrate the Supreme Court decision to disqualify Nawaz Sharif as party head, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has announced a ‘massive’ public gathering to be held in the capital soon to counter the ruling party’s criticism of the top court.
“Nawaz Sharif has carefully been unfolding a well-thought-out campaign against judiciary. The PTI will not only counter this anti-judiciary move in parliament but also take the matter to the public,” PTI chief Imran Khan said on Wednesday after chairing a meeting of the party’s parliamentary committee.
He said until recently his party was silent on Sharif’s tirade against judiciary but now it had become evident that the deposed PM was heading for a full-blown confrontation with the apex court.
He said Sharif through this campaign against judiciary wanted to avert his possible conviction in money laundering cases by pressurising judges and state institutions.
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“Seeing the situation, I have decided to gather a sea of people in the capital just to tell Nawaz Sharif that people of Pakistan supports judiciary and reject his narrative over the ongoing accountability drive,” said Khan. “I will visit the whole of Pakistan as part of the ongoing membership drive and sensitise the general public about Nawaz Sharif’s anti-judiciary designs,” he added.
The PTI chief said the ruling party had paralysed parliament and all other state institutions “and now they are after the only institution – Supreme Court – that has refused to protect their corruption”.
He said the judiciary had been under the direct influence of executive until its dignity was restored due to a historic struggle of political parties, including the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).
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“Now when it [judiciary] has started exercising its constitutional responsibility of keeping a check and balance on the executive, they started attacking it in a bid to push it back to its previous position,” he said.
Answering a question about the apex court July 28 verdict, Khan said in his opinion there were substantial evidences available to the court but it disqualified Sharif on Iqama, thus giving a chance to the ‘corrupt and disqualified’ individual to go to the public and malign judges.
“They would have thrown him into the jail for lying before the court over Calibri font and Qatari letter. Other than Iqama, there were a lot of proofs against Sharif and it’s my personal opinion,” he said.
The PTI chief said he had advised his party to be prepared for next general elections “which could held any time between July and September 2018”.
Answering another question, he said his party would have a say in interim set-ups to be installed in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab, but at the Centre, major political parties should hold consultation with the PTI for bringing a neutral caretaker set-up.
He said the PTI would also give names for the post of caretaker prime minister.
Asked if a ban might be imposed on the speeches of the ousted premier, Khan said although his speeches were like the ones delivered by the Muttahida Quami Movement founder, banning his statements would give him another lame excuse to malign state institutions.
“In my opinion, the courts will issue the final verdict [in cases] against him in the next three weeks… until then he may be given some more time,” Khan quipped.