ISLAMABAD -  Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif has rubbished speculations about his seeking some ‘NRO’ from the establishment and said he was opposed to a judiciary that serves dictators’ interests or hides behind doctrine of necessity.

Talking to the media after attending NAB court in connection with corruption references against him and other family members, he rubbished the impression of rift in Sharif family.

Nawaz said that he was not trying to strike any underhand deal with the establishment. He said the previous NRO (National Reconciliation Ordinance) was the result of a deal done by the Pakistan People’s Party with the then dictator Pervez Musharraf.

Interestingly, Nawaz himself was a beneficiary of this disgraceful October 2007 law which granted amnesty to politicians, political workers and bureaucrats accused of corruption, money laundering and terrorism. It was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in December 2009.

In a series of tweets, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan on Tuesday said that the "London game plan" had become obvious now as it seemed Nawaz was desperate for another NRO-like deal .

To a question about former president Asif Ali Zardari’s criticism of him, Nawaz Sharif said actually he (Zardari) was pleasing someone else, as personally he has no issue with him the PPP co-chairman.

The ousted prime minister said that he was at loss to understand why he was facing the trial and what actually his crime was, because the Supreme Court during Panama leaks trial had said that it was not the case of corruption and there was no corruption charge against him.

He was also critical of the specialist treatment to his cases in NAB court because according to him there was no precedent of a ‘super judge’ monitoring the corruption cases as was in the case of references filed against him and his family.

Nawaz Sharif posed the question whether he was put on trial because he had brought back peace into the restive port city of Karachi or brought loadshedding in the country to an end. He said his crimes list included putting the tottering economy back on track, attracting huge foreign investment and taking stock exchange to new heights.

He said that his party had struggled for the supremacy of superior judiciary but they did not want a judicial set-up which would support a dictator or take shelter behind doctrine of necessity.

Giving a tacit impression of partisan role of judiciary, he said that judiciary’s failure on meeting the requisite of dispensing justice would also fall in the purview of contempt of court and asked media to highlight the variant role of judiciary in dictatorial regimes and civil governments.

He said that they wanted to see judiciary dispending justice above all considerations as they believed in supremacy of law and constitution.

In response to a question, he supported Islamabad High Court Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui's plea to the Supreme Judicial Council to conduct his open trial after a complaint was filed against him. He said the time had come for open trials for everyone including judges and generals.

The PML-N president rejected the notion that they were treading the confrontational course, adding no one questions those who were hitting the political dispensation head-on.

To another question, he said that it was beyond comprehension that why there was a talk of technocrats set-up replacing the incumbent government. Dubbing it as just a wish of some people, he said “we have been listening about these rumours for past 17 years”.

Without putting finger at anyone, Nawaz Sharif said that whenever March approaches the talk about quick march and packing up of political dispensation starts. He vowed to stand against all forces out to weaken the political system.

Meanwhile, the accountability court adjourned the hearing against Nawaz Sharif and others until November 7 as the Islamabad High Court detailed order, remanding back the defence application for clubbing of all three references against the former PM, could not be furnished before the court.

It was first time that Nawaz , his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Capt (r) Muhammad Safdar appeared before the Islamabad Accountability Court together.

After the indictment of the three in the corruption references on November 19, the court had called the witnesses as the accused pleaded not-guilty and decided to defend themselves against the charges levelled against them in these references.

Nawaz Sharif, being in the UK, was indicted through his representative Zafir Khan.

On the outset of the court proceedings, Defence Counsel Khawaja Haris drew the attention of the court toward the Islamabad High Court (IHC) verdict on his application seeking clubbing of all the three references against Nawaz and said the court must settle the issue of clubbing these references before proceeding further.

The order of the IHC was not available with the accountability court so the judge took half an hour break so that the copy of the IHC judgement could be produced. But the IHC order could not be produced by that time, so, the hearing in all the three references was put off until November 7, when the court would hear arguments from both sides on the plea of clubbing the references.

Judge Mohammad Bashir directed prosecution that as the court would take up arguments on clubbing of references in the next hearing so the witnesses should not be called on that date. He also grant exemption to defendants from appearing on next hearing.

On Friday, Nawaz Sharif also furnished two surety bonds of Rs5 million each in all the three corruption cases for securing bails.

A day earlier an IHC bench, on the plea of Nawaz Sharif, set aside the decision of trial court of running the three references against Sharif family and remanded back the matter to the trial court.

In his plea, Nawaz’s lawyer argued that the Supreme Court’s July 28 verdict in the Panama Papers case had not asked the NAB to file the references separately. Thus, he added, separate references could not be filed against him, requesting the court to club together all three references.

Meanwhile, special security arrangements were in place in and around the courts complex during the high-profile hearing. A number of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leaders and workers reached the court to show support for their leader.

 

 

No NRO or underhand deal : Nawaz