August 06 , 2017

Nawaz dares court to hold Musharraf accountable
* Ousted PM says he was not disqualified over allegations of corruption or kickbacks * 'Charter of Democracy' can still be implemented

ISLAMABAD: Ousted premier Nawaz Sharif on Saturday said that dictators had destroyed this country with impunity, as there was no one to hold them accountable.

"We cried when Pakistan broke up in 1971... Look what they did to Akbar Bugti. Has any court made dictators accountable like us, the politicians?" he said while talking to reporters at the Punjab House, Islamabad, referring to military dictators, including General (r) Pervez Musharraf who had axed Nawaz Sharif's second tenure. The former premier claimed that General (r) Pervez Musharraf had contacted him for a meeting when he returned to the country.

Nawaz said he had a lot of say [about his disqualification] but for now he was choosing to remain silent.

He said what happened to him last month was out in the open, and the national and international media were both reporting on it.

Nawaz said he was not disqualified over allegations of corruption or receiving kickbacks.

"If they (the court) had found evidence of corruption or receiving kickbacks or embezzling of national funds against me, then it (the verdict) would have made sense," he said. "I have no reason to misappropriate government funds."

He said he was disqualified from the office for not taking salary from his son's company.

"The objection is beyond understanding," said Sharif. "When I didn't withdraw the salary, there was no need to declare it [in nomination papers]... how can I submit tax returns of money I didn't even receive."

He said that his grandfather's property was thoroughly checked but no evidence of corruption was found, adding, "We never abused anyone or tried to derail democracy."

Nawaz Sharif reiterated that his party always took steps for the eradication of terrorism and launched reconciliation process in Balochistan. "I am a man of ideology," he continued. The former PM further said that he didn't do anything that would hamper the country's growth or create unrest, adding that the economy was doing well. "I didn't lose my nerve and I didn't disrespect anyone; I'm staying calm," he said.

"I have come to understand a lot and have a lot to say, but for now I will remain silent, however, I won't stay silent forever," he added. To a question, Nawaz said the Charter of Democracy could still be implemented.

Earlier, hundreds of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) workers gathered at Islamabad's Bhara Kahu area to welcome Nawaz.

This was Nawaz Sharif's first visit to Islamabad after being disqualified by the Supreme Court (SC) in the corruption case of Panama Papers against his family.

Accompanied by his family members, the ex-PM reached Islamabad from his Murree residence during stopover on way to Lahore.

Carrying party flags and chanting slogans in favour of the former PM, a large number of PML-N workers surrounded the car of Nawaz Sharif, who came out of his vehicle at Uthaal Chowk and acknowledged the cheers and slogans by waving hands.

Nawaz Sharif arrived at the Punjab House where he was scheduled to meet party leaders. Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and Pakhtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) leader Mahmood Khan Achakzai met former premier later in the day.

During the meetings, they exchanged views on the political situation in the country in the aftermath of disqualification of Nawaz Sharif.

They assured their full support to the former premier and expressed the confidence that their cooperation would continue in the future as well.



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