Nawaz ‘excited’ over comeback prospects

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LAHORE: PML-N supreme leader Nawaz Sharif on Monday told an online meeting of party ticket holders about his ‘excitement’ regarding his planned return to the country on Oct 21, ending a four-year ‘self-imposed exile’.

PML-N leaders — including Maryam Nawaz, Hamza Shehbaz, Ahsan Iqbal, Pervaiz Rashid, Khurram Dastgir, Marriyum Aurangzeb, Azma Bokhari and Rana Sanaullah — and a good number of the party ticket holders attended the meeting, which was addressed by Mr Sharif via a video link from London.

Mr Sharif told them that he was excited and happy to return to the country. The participants chanted slogans to express solidarity with him.

Tells ticket holders party risked its political capital to save the country

Lashing out at the military and judicial establishment of 2017, Mr Sharif said the people should know who the real culprits for their agony were.

“The man (Nawaz) who rid the country of power loadshedding was sent home by four judges,” Mr Sharif said in his emotional speech to the party men, adding that the former army chief and spymaster were behind his ouster.

“(Former) chief justices Saqib Nisar and Asif Saeed Khosa were tools of [the former army chief and his spy chief]. Their crime is bigger than a murder offence. Giving them pardon will be an injustice to the nation. They don’t deserve pardon,” Mr Sharif said, vowing to hold them accountable.

“These ‘characters’ who unleashed economic misery on the people of Pakistan will have to face accountability,” the PML-N supreme leader pledged.

Defending the PML-N decision to take the 16-month government after sending PTI leader Imran Khan home through a no-confidence motion in April, 2022,

Mr Sharif claimed had the PDM not saved the country from default, per litre petrol price would have been Rs1,000.

“We put at risk our political capital to save the country from default. In fact we paid the price of saving Pakistan from default. However, I can give in writing that in elections we will win,” Mr Sharif claimed.

Just like previous meetings, the PML-N leadership in the Monday meeting, too, asked the participants to bring a large number of people to receive the elder Sharif at the Lahore airport on his return. The party also set a central facilitation control centre for his homecoming.

Speaking on the occasion, Ms Nawaz said on Oct 21 the people would turn up in large numbers and bury those behind Sharif’s disqualification and conviction in corruption cases.

Hamza Shehbaz said: “We will make Nawaz Sharif prime minister again to safeguard the future of the country’s children. After becoming the premier, Nawaz will overcome price hike, inflation and unemployment.”

He asserted the PML-N government had given relief to the people after coming to power in 2013. “The people will have to ask who were not happy to see Pakistan making progress,” he said.

Like Maryam Nawaz, Ahsan Iqbal also appealed to the people to give a clear mandate to the PML-N in the polls so that their party could steer the country out of crisis.

Rana Sanaullah said democracy did not fail in Pakistan but it was made to fail.

“Had Nawaz’s government not been sent home, today Pakistan would have been progressing,” he said, adding if conspiracy was not hatched against

Mr Sharif, Pakistan would not have been forced to beg.

Published in Dawn, September 19th, 2023