Nawaz says he believes in rule of law

ISLAMABAD:

  • Former PM says Musharraf has no courage to speak here in public

Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, while responding to recent remarks by Pervez Musharraf, said that the former military ruler is supporting dictatorship while sitting outside the country.

In an informal chat with reporters at the Punjab House on Saturday, he said that the nation was waiting when dictators would be punished for violating the Constitution. “Will punishments be given to those who have dismembered the country,” he asked. Taking a jibe at Musharraf, Nawaz said a dictator of the past said dictatorship was better than democracy.

“I don’t know which world he (Musharraf) is living in,” he said. “He (Musharraf) has no courage to come here and speak in public,” he pointed out. Nawaz said that Musharraf wanted to meet him in 2007 when he [Nawaz] was returning to the country. “Musharraf wanted to do an NRO [reconciliation] with me. He expressed his desire to meet me. I was told that it was in my favour, but I rejected the offer as I have become an ideological man,” he explained.

The Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) leader said Baloch leader Akbar Bugti was ruthlessly killed [in the Musharraf regime], leading to instability in Balochistan. “Did anyone question those who are responsible for it, did anyone hold them accountable,” he said. Referring to the Supreme Court’s grounds for his disqualification in the Panama Papers case, he said how he could have filed tax returns on the salary he never received from his son’s company.

“Whatever happened with me is in front of you all. Had there been any evidence of corruption, kickbacks or misuse of public funds there would have been logic [in the disqualification],” he said. “I have not done anything which obstructed the country’s progress,” he said, adding, “I have acted upon the [Supreme Court] verdict but didn’t comment on it. I believe in the rule of law.”

He said the country would remain stable if it remains on the path of democracy — otherwise, there will be chaos. “I want to take the country’s politics in the right direction. I haven’t used crass words against my political opponents. I am not politically isolated,” he said. Earlier, the PML-N leader, along with family members and aides, departed his residence in Changla Gali and was greeted by scores of supporters in Bharakahu on his way to the Punjab House.

The former premier’s convoy was surrounded by PML-N supporters, prompting Nawaz to get out of his car at one point and greet the crowd. Senior PML-N leaders and other politicians, including the prime minister and several cabinet members, were at the Punjab House for a consultative meeting chaired by Nawaz. The PML-N leader will be staying the night in the Punjab House and proceed to Lahore via the motorway.

Nawaz said that he wanted to go to Lahore from the GT Road, however, his security staff did not approve. “If not today, in the coming days I will travel to Lahore via GT Road,” he was quoted as saying.

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