Cornered Nawaz plays ‘victim card’ again, laments ouster of 1993 govt

LAHORE: On Saturday, the beleaguered former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif invoked the theme of injustice once more, bemoaning the dismissal of his 1993 administration and suggesting that, were it not for that political interruption, Pakistan might have been a leading power in Asia.

“Had the development strategy we proposed back then been followed, our nation could have been a trailblazer in Asia today,” Sharif remarked at a gathering of his party’s Central Working Committee (CWC) in Lahore.

Sharif reflected positively on the significant presence of PML-N representatives, noting it was a congregation like no other. He praised the nationwide representation and recognized the common adversities faced by its members, including exile and unfounded legal proceedings.

“It’s commendable to see leaders from every region assembled here after such a long hiatus,” remarked Sharif, the PML-N’s patriarch.

He extolled the fortitude of party members in weathering the storm and observed the tide turning as those once tangled in legal issues now actively contribute to legislatures and even hold constitutional appointments. He touted the clearing of fabricated charges against the party.

Sharif reflected on past efforts to work collaboratively with the ex-premier Imran Khan, reminisced about visiting Khan’s Banigala residence in 2013 to build national unity, but regretted the sequence of events that followed, including “a conspiracy in London.” Protests followed Khan’s return to Pakistan soon after their meeting.

Questioning Khan’s sincerity, he said, “I come to you seeking collaboration, and you respond by initiating demonstrations in Islamabad’s D-Chowk?”

He detailed his choice not to use police force against the protesters despite pressure from his cabinet and his decision to allow the formation of a PTI government in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa after the 2013 elections, despite having the power to hinder it via coalition.

Dissecting his removal from office, Nawaz scrutinized the fairness of the action, particularly being disqualified for life as a prime minister on a matter he perceived as minor: not drawing a salary from his son. He voiced his anger over the lack of consequences for such actions, asserting his entitlement to clarity.

“We demand a reckoning for those who derailed and devastated Pakistan,” Nawaz declared, emphasizing, “how can three individuals decide to disqualify a prime minister elected by 250 million people for life?”

Earlier on May 13, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif relinquished his role as the president of the PML-N, thus opening the path for Nawaz Sharif to assume leadership of the party once again.

After Nawaz’s disqualification by the Supreme Court, which barred him from all public office, including any political party position, Shehbaz was formally named president of the PML-N in March 2018.

In his resignation letter, Shehbaz reflected on the “volatile events” of 2017, which saw Nawaz’s disqualification. Proclaiming the moment as critical for the party, he expressed his dedication to the principles of the party.

“Recognizing my service as a trust, or ‘amanaat,’ granted by our esteemed leader,” he said, “I am buoyed by recent events that have exonerated our leader with honor, validating his impeccable integrity and devotion to the nation. With the approval of the Quaid and the Party, I have been tasked with the premiership following the General Elections of 2024,” Shehbaz added.

With these events and the unwavering guidance of our beloved leader, Shehbaz professed that it was time for Nawaz Sharif to reclaim his rightful role as President of the Pakistan Muslim League (N) to impart his precious leadership and vision.

Shehbaz expressed gratitude towards the party leadership for their understanding and support and acknowledged the resolute and courageous front the party and its leadership maintained throughout their challenges.

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