Pakistan’s former prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Sunday regretted that none of the country’s elected premiers have been able to complete their terms, saying “Iqbal did not dream of this Pakistan”.
Sharif, 70, the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) supremo, has been living in London since November last year after the Lahore High Court granted him permission to go abroad for four weeks for treatment.
Speaking at the PML-N’s social media convention, he said that “again and again, the constitution was violated, those who created the country were termed traitors, popular leaders were jailed and leaders were made out to be robbers”.
Sharif said that the votes of the public had been “stolen”, accusing the government led by Prime Minister Imran Khan of indulging in rigging in the 2018 elections, Dawn news reported.
“Until now, none of the (elected) prime ministers have been allowed to complete their constitutional term. Every few years, democracy is attacked and martial law is imposed,” Sharif was quoted as saying in the report.
“Tell me, hand on your heart, is this Quaid-i-Azam’s Pakistan?” he asked.
Pakistan’s powerful Army, which has ruled the country for more than half of its 70 plus years of existence, has hitherto wielded considerable power in the matters of security and foreign policy.
Sharif, while referring to the criticism over his speeches critical of the military, said if it was “treason to expose those who have formed a state above a state”.
Undemocratic forces have started propaganda through social media that Nawaz Sharif’s narrative is empowering enemies of the country.
“These undemocratic forces have choked freedom of expression in the country, choked the poor and unemployment, have crushed them with inflation, these are painful things but all they are worried about is how to stop Nawaz Sharif,” he added.
Sharif, living in London since November last year after he was allowed by the courts and the government to go there for a period of eight weeks for medical treatment, has accused army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa and spy agency ISI head Lt Gen Faiz Hameed for interfering in the elections of 2018 and installing Imran Khan’s “puppet government”.
He was sentenced in absentia to 10 years of rigorous imprisonment by an anti-graft court in one of the three corruption cases against him in the Panama Papers scandal in July 2018.
Sharif resigned as Pakistan prime minister in 2017 after the Supreme Court disqualified him from holding public office and ruled that graft cases be filed against the beleaguered leader and his children over the Panama Papers scandal.
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