ISLAMABAD - After getting re-elected as PML-N president unopposed, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif said they have initiated a grand national dialogue and asked the people to join him in devising an impeccable mechanism to take forward the nation and democracy.

“There have been attempts again and again to exit me, but you will always keep giving me an entry again and again,” Nawaz told party workers after his re-election. “I congratulate that you’re bringing Nawaz Sharif back with full force.”

Earlier, the nomination papers of Nawaz Sharif for the slot of the PML-N president were filed by Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry and Rana Afzal with the party election commission chairman, Ch Jaffar Iqbal.

As no other contender for the slot had filed his nomination papers within the given timeline, Ch Jaffar Iqbal announced Nawaz Sharif’s unopposed victory.

The Convention Centre was filled to its capacity by the general council members, other party leaders and activists who raised full-throat slogans when the announcement of Nawaz Sharif’s election as the party president was made.

Acting President Sardar Yaqoob Khan Nasir handed over the charge of the party president to Nawaz Sharif and all those present there welcomed him by clapping and raising slogans in his favour. Some of the enthusiasts even raised slogans against those who, according to them, had conspired against their leader by disqualifying him.

Nawaz once again seemed defiant in his address and criticised political governments over the past 70 years.

Referring to the tragic incident of fall of Dhaka, Nawaz regretted that instead of learning lesson from it, the country was treading on the same path which weakened the system.

“It is due to these follies on our part that the country is lagging far behind other nations,” Nawaz said, adding time has come to put the things right.

Nawaz said he signed Charter of Democracy with Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, extended support to the PPP government in 2008 with the same spirit and gave respectful send-off to President Asif Ali Zardari because he wanted to take the things forward and avoid confrontation.

He further said that with the same spirit his party initiated a grand national dialogue and asked the people to join him to stop ouster of political governments so that the country’s march on road to progress and prosperity could continue unhindered.

“We have to change our policies for progress and prosperity of Pakistan,” adding the nations which ignore the changing demands of time are outpaced by the time. “We will have to change the culture of clash for the sake of 200 million people,” he said, adding the country is stronger than it was in 2013.

The participants were also addressed by a number of senior party leaders, including Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal, Balochistan Chief Minister Sana Ullah Zehri and others.

Former interior minister Ch Nisar Ali Khan gave a low appearance at the venue as he came late, quietly sat and seemed worried. He left the venue while Nawaz Sharif was addressing the gathering.

Nawaz once again reiterated his stance against his disqualification on Iqama and sarcastically said if they could not find any corruption and misappropriation of public money on his part, they should have told the people that they were going to oust him at all cost.

Tacitly grilling the judiciary, Nawaz said the verdicts from Molvi Tamizuddin case to hanging of a prime minister and his ouster on Iqama instead of Panama would only weaken the system.

He said he was hurt over his disqualification on a trivial matter as they failed to bring out even an iota of corruption in his three terms as the prime minister. He, however, added it was heartening to know that every time when he was ousted, the people of Pakistan brought him back with full force. He also thanked the party workers and activists for once again reposing confidence in him.

He said the legislation which a dictator had crafted to keep him out of power was today revoked by the people by re-electing him as the party president. He resolved to remove the anomalies introduced in the constitution during dictatorial regimes.

He also spoke of the development agenda of his party and said he wanted to see mega development projects like motorways, dams and CPEC thrive.

Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif grilled the opposition parties for undue criticism on the legislation paving the way of Nawaz Sharif’s re-election as PML-N chief. He also advised Nawaz Sharif to take advice from the party workers and those loyalists to the party instead of the newly found advisers who were just interested in saving their perks and privileges.

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said though they had accepted the apex court verdict in the Panama case, the people of Pakistan had rejected it. He said the party would continue serving the people under his able guidance and claimed PML-N would return even with more power in next general elections.

Balochistan Chief Minister Sana Ullah Zehri and other speakers on the occasion paid glowing tributes to Nawaz Sharif. They were of the view that the court verdict disqualifying Nawaz Sharif was not accepted by the people of Pakistan.

Staff Reporter from Lahore adds: Nawaz Sharif reached Jatiumra Raiwind after his election as president of the PML-N in Islamabad. He is likely to chair meetings of the party leaders on political and other issues today.