ISLAMABAD - Following the federal cabinet and coalition partners, the PML-N Parliamentary Party has also come up with unflinching support to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to fight out the alleged conspiracy to oust him.

Amid desk thumping and clapping, Nawaz said he would not resign on the demand of ‘defeated elements’ as the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) report - spanning over several thousand pages – did not mention corruption of even a single penny during his five terms in office.

“My hands are clean and there is no burden on my conscience, so, instead of stepping down, I will contest it with full force in the Supreme Court,” the prime minister announced in the Parliamentary Party meeting.

He saw a conspiracy behind all this and dubbed it as ‘Dharna-III’, but he sounded optimistic to frustrate it with the ‘grace of God’ and ‘support of the people’ of Pakistan.

Premier Sharif was given a standing ovation when he entered the hall, where the party’s MPs were sitting. Chief ministers of Punjab, Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan attended the meeting on special invitation while Sindh governor was also called in the meeting.

The party MPs were emotionally charged and some of them, who are otherwise annoyed with the party - like Najaf Sial, Abdur Rehman Kanju, Riaz Hussain Pirzada, also come up with unequivocal support to the PM in this time of trial and made it loud and clear that they would stand with the party and its top leader.

Nawaz in his address to the Parliamentary Party of PML-N recalled that since the formation of the government it was the third attempt to dislodge his government and dubbed it as ‘Dharna-III’.

He expressed his resolve that he would not let the ‘conspirators’ derail the government and push back the country into darkness. The country, he said, would continue treading the road to progress and prosperity.

During PM’s speech, Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif turned emotional several times and even the members saw tears rolling down his cheeks - which moved many other participants.

Before the prime minister’s address and the brief comments by some of the party MPs seconding his decision to contest the JIT report in the court, Barrister Zafarullah briefed the participants about the report and highlighted some of the stark contradictions and lacunae in it.

Though some party MPs did not turn up in the meeting for different personal reasons but the absence of Interior Minister Ch Nisar Ali Khan was most conspicuous.

The attendance of MPs, considered party dissidents, and their reposing confidence in the leadership of the prime minister dispelled the impression of cracks within the ruling party.

Party MNA Malik Ibrar said that not even a single person present in the meeting differed with the decision of the PM, and the participants with voice vote supported the decision to contest the JIT in the court of law.

PML-N Central Secretary Information Mushahid Ullah Khan said, “The whole nation is standing behind you Mister Prime Minister and the clapping of the people here represents the [support of] 20 crore people of Pakistan.”

PML-N MNA Shafqat Baloch talking to The Nation said that the meeting was emotionally charged and the participants pledged to stand by the prime minister against the ‘conspiracies’ being hatched against the government.

He further said that they believed that it was not a conspiracy against the PML-N government rather a move against democracy and development.

MNA Abid Raza in his brief remarks said that each and every member of the Parliamentary Party was foot soldier of Nawaz Sharif and they would stand by him through thick and thin.

Khalid Magsi said he is a Baloch and loyality is in their blood.

Najaf Sail, who is quite vocal against his own party’s policies, said that people of Pakistan and blessings of God are with the prime minister and no one could harm him.

Terming Nawaz as icon of development and prosperity, Gilgit-Baltistan chief minister said that whole nation was standing behind him.

Balochistan Chief Minister Sanaullah Zehri said that prime minister no one was empowered to oust the PM as this authority lied only with the millions of people of Pakistan who had elected him to serve the cause of the country and take it to new heights.

Earlier in his address, PM Nawaz Sharif called himself ‘squeaky-clean’, and vowed he won’t resign on anyone’s demand.

“We hope the top court will hear our reservations on findings of the probing team,” he said, adding that he believes in democracy, rule of law and independence of judiciary.

Nawaz recalled that he had refused to subscribe to the so-called National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) in Musharraf era.

He said that governments have always been dismissed on corruption charges and security risks and that the Sharif family has been targeted over its business matters spanning over 62 years with assumptions and allegations.

Nawaz Sharif regretted that elements favouring political instability and uncertainty were proving detrimental to the country.

He said the stock market, which had reached a bullish 54,000 points, has plunged because of the unscrupulous elements and enemies of progress and prosperity.

He recalled that before 2013, Pakistan was going to be declared a failed state, but PML-N government not only averted that danger but also brought about an economic turnaround.

He said, “We launched operation against terrorists with the consultation of armed forces and backbone of terrorists has been broken.

“The country is strengthening and if there would be no negative politics, hopefully we will achieve the growth rate of six to seven percent and even beyond.”

The prime minister said a number of power projects were launched during his tenure and several of them have been completed. He said the loadshedding will become a tale of the past soon.

 

MPs ask PM to stay put and fight it out