LAHORE - Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif has warned of East Pakistan-like tragedy if sanctity of vote is not established in the country.

In his first address to media after home-return rally from Islamabad to Lahore at Hazoori Bagh here yesterday, he said now his top most agenda is establishing respect of the vote and speedy justice to the masses for which “he would do anything from amending the Constitution to changing the laws.”

Nawaz Sharif said the charade that has been going on for over last 70 years must end now. “Otherwise, Pakistan can face another tragedy which it cannot afford,” he said, vowing to firm-up sanctity of the ballot and make it observe by others.

He did not take queries from the media persons, who had been waiting for around three hours to interact with him.

He said during the last four years rule his development agenda changed the country. “The interruption in his rule is a great setback to the continuity of the economic development and to availability of jobs to the youth,” the ex-premier said, alluding to his removal from the office by the Supreme Court.

“Pakistan came into being through the power of law and the vote but unfortunately both were cast away after the death of Quaid-e-Azam [Muhammad Ali Jinnah] and Quaid-e-Millat [Liaqat Ali Khan] and the doctrine of necessity took their place which led to dismemberment of Pakistan in 1971. But no lesson has been learned from this tragedy,” he said, after paying homage to the Poet of the East, Allama Muhammad Iqbal at his mausoleum.

Nawaz said today they feel ashamed visiting the mausoleum of the Quaid and Iqbal as Pakistan is not what they had thought of. He emphatically said that the time has come to put the country on the path set by Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

He said the country has been suffering over the last 70 years due to disrespect to the public mandate as it runs contrary to the spirit of democracy and the objective of Pakistan’s creation.

“Today we are celebrating 70th Independence Day yet we would have truly enjoyed the day, had East Pakistan been also our part - equally contributing to the progress and the development of the country.” Nawaz Sharif said respect to the public mandate would have saved East Pakistan from separation.

Former prime minister said in his four-year stay in power he delivered to end energy crisis and bring peace with many projects of development underway. I would have done more had I been not removed from the office, he added, arguing, “the sea of people accompanying him in the rally was vindicated this fact.”

He said their next agenda on coming to power in the election is to provide speedy and inexpensive justice to the masses. “We will ensure social, judicial and economic justice to the people”, he said citing the slow pace in administration of justice where a case by the grandfather fails decision till the grandson and the case costs them their entire properties. “Neither it [the delayed justice] nor disparity was the objective of Pakistan creation.”

The former premier said Pakistan belongs to its 200 million inhabitants and not to a handful people, and vowed to provide shelter to the poor on coming to power again. “I am speaking from my heart and I will surely prove true to my words,” he said adding, “Our aim will be to make Pakistan stronger politically and economically.”

Nawaz Sharif said after four years of his rule, Pakistan was much more developed and peaceful than it was in 2013. “The economic progress has received a serious jolt from what had been done to him, which is extremely regrettable,” he said.