ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif said on Sunday he accepted the Supreme Court verdict because he believed in the rule of law but will expose the ‘conspiracy’ behind his disqualification.
“There were names of several other people in the Panama Papers but only my family was singled out and subjected to accountability,” he lamented in an informal talk with the businessmen hailing from Islamabad and Rawalpindi.
The former prime minister said he did not want a clash between institutions. “I am not in favour of confrontation with institutions, thus I accepted the verdict.”
The Supreme Court in its judgment in Panama Papers case announced on July 28 had disqualified Nawaz Sharif for concealing his salary from a Dubai-based company owned by his son. The court also ordered filing of references against Nawaz, his children and the son-in-law.
In apparent reference to former president Pervaiz Musharraf, Nawaz questioned why those who abrogated the constitution of the country were not being brought to justice. He added that those who had looted billions of rupees were still at large, and others who had breached the constitution were also not punished.
He said that people of the country have given his party the mandate, which should be respected. “I was subjected to exploitation in the name of accountability. I won’t give in to any pressure. Masses have not accepted the verdict. I am well aware of what is going to befall me,” the PML-N leader said. “My case has been referred to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) which will be supervised by the Supreme Court even though there doesn’t exist any such precedent,” he said.
A day earlier, Nawaz had told reporters in Punjab House that he had a lot to say [about his disqualification] but for now he was choosing to remain silent. He said what happened 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.
He said he was disqualified from the office for not taking salary from his son’s company. “The objection is beyond understanding,” he said. “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.”
Nawaz 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.
Separately, former interior minister Ch Nisar Ali Khan held a meeting with Nawaz Sharif in Punjab House on Sunday and briefed him about preparations of his travel to Lahore via GT Road that is scheduled for Wednesday.
This is the first one-on-one meeting between the two leaders after Ch Nisar voiced his reservations about party leadership in a press conference a day before Nawaz was disqualified by the Supreme Court.
Nawaz is scheduled to leave for Lahore on August 9 in form of a rally.
Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb also held a meeting with the former premier in Punjab House.