Nawaz to launch mass-contact campaign

ISLAMABAD/rawalpindi – Former prime minister and PML-N President Nawaz Sharif has decided to launch a mass-contact campaign, keeping in view the mounting pressure regarding corruption cases against the Sharif family and next year’s general elections.

The decision was made by Nawaz Sharif after holding consultations with party leaders and workers at Punjab House on Thursday following his return from London.

Federal Minister for Climate Change Senator Mushahidullah Khan told BBC Nawaz Sharif would initiate the campaign by addressing a public meeting in Abbottabad around November 12. “The selection of venue for public meeting was to show that the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, like Punjab, have also not accepted the court decision against Nawaz Sharif.”

He said Nawaz Sharif and other party leaders had welcomed Thursday’s decision of the Islamabad High Court regarding NAB references. He also said it was good news for the former prime minister in the prevailing circumstances.

Earlier, Nawaz, who is due to appear in court today (Friday), told his party leaders and workers at Punjab House that he was optimistic to be acquitted by the accountability court in ‘fake cases’. He said all the cases against him were ‘politically-motivated’ with no substance.

The former PM held a meeting with senators Asif Kirmani and Pervez Rashid and State Minister Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhary and other PML-N workers to discuss the political situation.

During the meeting, Sharif said he did not believe in confrontation and wanted all the institutions to work under the Constitution.

PML-N sources told The Nation that Nawaz was confident to win the 2018 general elections which will be a ‘befitting reply’ to his political opponents. “I have faced such fake cases earlier. I am not afraid of such cases and will face them,” a PML-N leader quoted Sharif as saying.

Nawaz said his government was also ‘illegally toppled in 1999’ and ‘false cases’ were registered against him. “They made a sitting PM a hijacker in seconds. The nation knows we are innocent and we will triumph in the end,” he maintained.

In a related development, a National Accountability Bureau team served court’s summons on Nawaz Sharif at the Punjab House, The Nation has learnt.

NAB earlier planned to deliver the court orders to Nawaz at Benazir International Airport upon his arrival from London. NAB team also sought access to the PIA flight No PK 786 from the airport security force for compliance of the court orders through a letter. The team was present at the airport during the arrival of Nawaz Sharif but it went back without meeting the disqualified PM.

Sources told The Nation that at the eleventh hour, the Bureau changed its plan and Director General NAB Rawalpindi Nasir Iqbal directed the team to deliver the court orders to Nawaz at the Punjab House.

They said the DG Rawalpindi was in contact with ousted PM and his legal team after his arrival and the NAB team headed by Deputy Director Mehboob Alam reached the Punjab House on a telephone call of Nawaz’s legal team member.

Federal Minister Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry submitted surety bonds worth Rs1 million to protect bail for the PML-N head, however, he assured the NAB team that the disqualified PM would appear before the court today.

The court had issued bailable arrest warrants for the former premier after he failed to appear before it on October 26.

Earlier, NAB team had arrested son-in-law of former premier Captain (retd) Muhammad Safdar at the airport and produced him before the accountability court.

Nawaz Sharif landed at the airport via the PIA flight No PK-786 at 8.15am. He was received by Leader of the House in Senate Raja Zafarul Haq, Federal Ministers Khawaja Saad Raffique, Mushahidullah Syed, Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry, State Minister for Interior Talal Chaudhry, Mohsin Ranjha, former information minister Pervez Rashid, Senator Chaudhry Tanveer Ali Khan, Senator Saleem Raza, Senator Dr Asif Karmani, MNA Zahra Batool, Mayor Islamabad Sheikh Ansar, Rawalpindi Mayor Sardar Naseem and Haji Pervaiz.

However, Chief Security Officer of the BBIIAP refused access to a team of the National Accountability Bureau investigators to the airport apron.

The airport management and Airport Security Force also barred the PML-N workers and legislators to enter the airport upon arrival of their leader.

Nawaz Sharif held a meeting with the party leaders at the Rawal Lounge of the airport and discussed with them some important issues.

The ASF did not allow the PML-N workers to enter the airport’s premises to welcome Nawaz Sharif. They stood on the main road and chanted slogans in favour of the former prime minister. Several PML-N women MPAs and workers stood on the footpaths to welcome their leader. Nawaz thanked the party leaders for coming to receive him.

After spending an hour at the airport, the ex-PM was escorted to the Punjab House under tight security. High security measures were taken for the arrival of the PML-N president on the orders of City Police Officer Israr Ahmed Khan Abbasi.

All roads leading to the airport were blocked due to which motorists faced many problems. School-going children particularly suffered problems due to blockage in the early morning rush-hours. There was also a delay in flight operations which irked many passengers who got into an exchange of harsh words with the ASF. Heated confrontations took place between the people who had arrived at the Islamabad airport to receive or see off passengers and the ASF as the latter denied their entry to the airport.

“The government and airport security force should take care of passengers along with VVIPs,” a passenger Amir Nawaz said. He complained that he and his family faced problems while reaching the airport to catch an international flight.



Nawaz to launch mass-contact campaign


SHAFQAT ALI, Nokhaiz Sahi & Israr Ahmed

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