Pakistan’s ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif has denied any deal with the powerful establishment for his return to the country. Sharif, 67, who returned from London on Thursday to face the court cases against him, also dismissed the possibility of a technocrats’ government in the country. He had gone to London last month to be with his ailing wife Kulsoom Nawaz who is battling throat cancer. He resigned as prime minister in July after the country’s Supreme Court disqualified him over undeclared income.
Three cases were registered by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on September 8 against Sharif, his children and son-in-law in the Accountability Court Islamabad, following a verdict by the Supreme Court. In an informal chat with the media, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) president yesterday said he would not go for any deal or accept a new National Reconciliation Ordinance to escape trial proceedings, Dawn reported.
Sharif said that those who had sought the NRO in 2007 might seek another one in 2017, but the PML-N was not interested in any such deal. He was referring to a law issued by the then military ruler Pervez Musharraf to quash all cases against former premier Benazir Bhutto and her husband Asif Ali Zardari. Called as NRO, the law was later quashed by the Supreme Court as against the Constitution.
Sharif said he did not see formation of any technocrats’ government as he had been listening to such rumours for 70 years. He said that after the November 3, 2007 emergency imposed by Musharraf, he stood for the cause of independence of the judiciary. “I am not the supporter of a judiciary which welcomes dictators, endorses doctrine of necessity and garlands them.” he said. Sharif also criticised Musharraf who escaped the high treason trial for imposing the emergency and has refused to come back to face trial.
Musharraf escaped the high treason trial for imposing the emergency as he flew abroad following a Supreme Court verdict and subsequent removal of his name from the exit control list. “This is the difference how an elected leader is treated here,” Sharif said. Sharif also dismissed reports about differences within the Sharif family, saying that “it’s a wishful thinking of someone, but this desire will never be fulfilled”.
The political future of Sharif, who leads the country’s most powerful political family and the ruling PML-N party, has been hanging in balance. If convicted, Sharif can be jailed. Sharif’s family alleges that the cases against him are politically motivated.