LAHORE - Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif says he aims to bring a revolution to ensure speedy justice and better service to the people through constitutional reform that will create a more balanced relationship between different state institutions and cure the ills afflicting the overall politico-legal and administrative system of the country.

“I wish for us to have a better future. To do that, we have to change the system. This system is plagued by a virus, and we have to cure it,” he told highly charged supporters yesterday at Data Darbar, where he arrived on the final day of his ‘homecoming’ rally from Islamabad.

Nawaz, who last month was disqualified as premier by the Supreme Court, announced his support for the proposals floated earlier by Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani for establishing supremacy of the Parliament through joint parley of the Judiciary, Army and the Parliament.

Stressing the need for a change in the current system, law and the constitution, he said he fully endorsed senate chairman’s proposals and would associate his party in its execution as and when required.

Rabbani is a leader of Pakistan Peoples Party, whose chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari also addressed a public meeting in Chiniot the same day, almost the same time. He rejected Nawaz Sharif’s offer to join hands for constitutional reforms, expressing distrust with him saying the PML-N leader would remember Charter of Democracy only when he himself is in crisis.

On his first arrival in his hometown after the disqualification verdict, Nawaz Sharif was jubilant to see the warmth of the welcome he received. Hundreds of jubilant supporters showered his vehicle with rose petals and there were plenty of fireworks as his caravan inched its way through the city.

“What am I seeing today in Lahore? I have never seen anything like this before,” he said to the cheering party loyalists who had amassed there, choking the entire area.

The deposed primer overtly grilled the Supreme Court decision saying it was neither acceptable to him nor to the people.

He said, “You made me a prime minister, and five people — five, [just] five [judges] — disqualified me. Tell me, is their verdict acceptable to you?”

“I have come to you after four days on the road. Everyone in Pakistan is protesting Nawaz Sharif’s disqualification,” he claimed.

“Those [judges] who disqualified Nawaz Sharif, are they themselves qualified [to take that decision]?” he asked furiously.

He forcefully talked of changing basis of the current system through a revolution in the interest of giving right direction to the country.

He went on to say, “If we have to emerge as respectable nation where prime ministers are not sent home after few months, this system must change. We are shy of showing our face to others for what has been happening with the elected PMs since inception of Pakistan.

“There is a dire need to change the constitution, law and system to ensure availability of social, judicial and economic justice to the people. Our revolutionary struggle will be for that end. It is my promise and I do not make false promises. My aim is creation of a new Pakistan.”

He then asked the gathering whether they would stand with him in that mission and all said ‘yes’ in affirmation.

“Today I am no more prime minister yet I am out for justice and not for power,” he claimed, announcing that he will give his future revolutionary programme on August 14 – the independence day of the country.

Furthering criticism on the decision of disqualification he said, “They say Nawaz Sharif did not do any corruption but only he did not receive salary from his son. If I did not receive it, who are you [judges] to ask about it? Not taking salary is no way a reasonable ground for disqualification.”

“This has been going on over the last 70 years with your prime ministers, he said, and asked, “Should this be changed or not?”

“Yes, this must change,” the audience replied in the background chanting ‘Wazir-e-Azam Nawaz Sharif, Wazir-e-Azam Nawaz Sharif.

“You vote, but a few sent the PM home. Why the PMs are not allowed to compete the term? Who they are to do so much oppression? Should not they be held accountable? They should also be held for ‘ehtesab’ so that this tamasha (circus) should end once and for all,” Nawaz Sharif remarked alluding to the judicial decision against him.

He said he shed his blood and sweat to end loadshedding and provide for the poor and asked “who they are to sabotage the progress. He said if this practice continued, God forbid, “we would again be repeating the 1971 tragedy. What was done in East Pakistan and Balochistan you know well all. Today 80 percent people are shelterless and justice is expensive”. He said if they came to power again, poor will be provided home and speedy and inexpensive justice by the state.

The former premier recounted his achievements in the office. “I have made good my commitments,” he said adding, his government did what was never done before and lamented that he has been disqualified when the country was making huge economic progress after return of peace. Does a prime minster merit disqualification when he is doing such great jobs. It is not acceptable,” Nawaz Sharif went on.

He said prime ministers were sent packing after 18 months rule while dictators stayed in power for as long as 10/10 years. But this practice will not now work anymore, Nawaz Sharif said pointing the exuberance of the crowd that “your spirit is harbinger of a revolution and if that revolution did not come, the poor will never come out of the quagmire of problems and Pakistan will remain at the lowest in the comity of the nations.”

He asked the crowd what he did earn him, “shabash or disqualification?” All said ‘sabash’ and Nawaz said “then sanctity of the vote must be established at every cost as country belongs to its 200 million [inhabitants] and not to a handful [people]. People must get their rights.”

He said Nawaz Sharif does what he preaches.” I don’t care for life as my life is you and I will never deceive you,” he said, getting commitment from the people to support and stand by him in efforts for the revolutionary changes.

He said over the last four year conspiracies had been going on against his government. Had these ‘tamashas’ not been there, Pakistan would have been miles ahead from what it is today. Nawaz Sharif said he did not have lust for power but craved only for the prosperity and development of the nation. “From now on, I will not stay at home but remain in the field till destiny of the country is changed.”

The former prime minister expressed deep sorrow and grief over Balochistan blast. He prayed for the eternal peace of the martyrs and sympathised with the bereaved families.

Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif in his address said that Nawaz Sharif was penalised in Panama case but no hand was laid on those who looted billions of the nation and “today are giving lessons against corruption in talk shows. They are left scot free”.

He said, “I swear that Nawaz Sharif since his Chief Ministership to the last day as prime minister did not commit corruption of a single penny.” He said it was Nawaz Sharif who led the country to path of progress and development.

He said, PPP, PML-Q and PTI opposed the development projects but they went ahead with them. “Let’s promise on the eve of Independence Day to make Pakistan as per vision of Nawaz Sharif,” he said.

Earlier, when Nawaz Sharif’s caravan crossed Ravi Bridge and entered Lahore it made a stopover at Shahdra – where the former PM delivered a brief speech, seeking support for the constitutional revolution he aims to bring about.

During the day, on way to Lahore, the rally also stopped at Muridke. Addressing his supporters there, Nawaz Sharif said that the massive presence of people in Muridke, Kamonke, Gujranwala and all along the way is defeat of those who have made the country hostage for 70 years. He said the warm welcome accorded to him is a prelude to revolution to change the fate of the country.

 

 

 

Lahore embraces ‘revolutionary’ Nawaz

 

SAJID ZIA

This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 13-Aug-2017 here.