Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Monday said he was ready to face a commission that can probe treason allegations against him over controversial remarks regarding the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
Challenging those calling him a ‘traitor’, he demanded forming a commission to determine “who the real traitor is”, suggesting the guilty to be hanged in public.
Addressing a rally at Buner district in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Quaid said those charged with treason should be brought forth as well, in a clear jibe at former military ruler Pervez Musharraf.
“Is making Pakistan a nuclear power accounted for treason? Those who imposed martial law are seen as patriots while those who serve the nation are labeled as traitors,” he remarked. The three-time premier categorically rejected being labelled a traitor, saying the country belonged to all citizens, ‘not to a chosen few’.
“Now they are accusing me of sending $5 billion to India. I challenge National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to prove this claim, the chairman must resign. We will not allow him to flee with such allegations at hand,” he criticised the national corruption watchdog.
Sharif said that this has been happening to elected prime ministers for decades, adding that Zulfiqar Bhutto was even hanged. “No one will be allowed to crush the respect of the vote,” he said.
Lamenting at the state of affairs in Buner, Nawaz said nothing had changed in Mardan or Buner despite the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s claims of bringing about a ‘naya Pakistan’.
“If PML-N had government in K-P, we would’ve connected Buner to the rest of the country by making a motorway. Imran Khan [PTI chief] has cheated you by not giving anything in return for your vote.”
The deposed premier said that Peshawar has broken roads of high levels of pollution, he added that if elected, the people in Buner will see the development in progress. “I announce here that we will provide free homes and healthcare to all poor,” he vowed.
Maryam questions motives behind anti-Nawaz rhetoric
Addressing the rally, Maryam Nawaz said, “From the past 20 years, Nawaz Sharif’s love has been growing in people’s hearts. The propaganda against him will not be successful.”
She further said that those elected from the people’s votes are being labelled as ‘traitors’. “They’ve tried everything against us; disqualification, the ousting from party presidency and even the religion card. And now, the new treason card is here,” she added.
Maryam questioned the audience, “Whether a man who faced opposition from the world but still launched nuclear tests be called a traitor? Can a man who took responsibility for Pervez Musharraf’s bloodbath in Kargil be called a traitor?”
She added that Nawaz opposed India and the United Nations (UN) for not doing enough for Kashmiris, and warded off terrorism from the country.
“Nawaz does not need a certificate of patriotism from anyone,” Maryam said, adding that, “He’s been voted for 30 years, this shows his patriotism. Compare this to those who flung Pakistan into terrorism, assaulted the chief justice, launched propaganda and caused civil disobedience!”