Iqama used as excuse to disqualify me: Nawaz Sharif

ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister Mohammad Nawaz Sharif Tuesday said not a single penny of corruption, kickback and embezzlement was proven against him during the Panama papers case and Iqama was made an excuse to disqualify him.

Addressing a press conference here, he was of the view that it had already been decided to disqualify him, Iqama was used as an excuse.

He said at least it should have been admitted that nothing was found in Panama papers case, but he was being punished on the basis of Iqama.

Nawaz Sharif said his hands were clean and no corruption charges were proven against him.

“My conscience is clear so I appeared before the accountability court.”

Nawaz Sharif said during the period of dictatorship, he had two rights of appeal but now he was even deprived of that legal right.

Narrating details of the Panama papers case, he said a joint investigation team (JIT) was formed and then the court gave verdicts with a three judges bench and then with five judges bench.

Later the court directly sent references to National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and it was likely that the same judges who heard his case, would hear the appeal against him, he observed.

He claimed the treatment meted out to him was not according to law and questioned whether the court proceedings against him were in line with Article 10 of the Constitution and requirements of fair trial.

Nawaz Sharif said in his case, all the weight was put on the scale of the petitioner and he was denied his legal rights.

Nawaz Sharif recalled that the same cases which were rejected during the period of dictatorship were again being used against him and the demands of justice were not being fulfilled.

He said despite what happened during the Panama papers case, the Sharif family remained part of the judicial proceedings.

He said after the Supreme Court decision, he left the office of prime minister, but the lawyer community and every well-informed citizen was astonished over the decision.

“At the lawyers convention, I raised 12 questions,” but he did not get any answer to the questions raised by him.

He said in cases like Panama papers, the verdicts were implemented and punishments were given, but nobody accepted such decisions and it was evident from the country’s history.

He said on his first appeal in the court of the people, from Bari Imam to Data Darbar, millions of people came out on the GT Road for four days and nights and gave their verdict in his favour.

Nawaz Sharif said he was thankful to the people of Lahore who gave their verdict in his favour in the NA-120 bye election.

He said still the biggest verdict will be given in the court of the people in the general election 2018.

Nawaz Sharif said he appeared before the JIT whose members were declared “diamonds,” later they were made so sacred that now not even the Supreme Court could touch them.

He said he still hoped for justice, adding in the Panama Papers case he and his family were not a target but the whole nation and the future generations were being punished.

He said a democratic Pakistan which was making progress for the last four years was stopped from moving ahead.

“I am simply stating that let this country work according to the constitution. If the constitution gives people the right to rule, accept this right and don’t make excuses. Let the 200 million people decide fate of the country and don’t snatch this right from them.”

“Let people decide the issues of qualification and disqualification. Do not snatch away this right from people. Pakistan’s history is full of bad decisions that cause pain to the people. It is about time that we cure this 70 year old cancer.”

He said, “When the process of accountability is turned into revenge, reputation of the court suffers and this is clear from the case of Tamizuddin to the case of Nawaz Sharif.”

Nawaz Sharif said that he went to London due to sickness of his wife and the details of his visit were in the knowledge of everybody.

He said it was unfortunate that false stories were spread about his stay in London. He said his associates knew that he would come back from London.

He said in September, ten years back, he came to Pakistan and was forced to return from the Islamabad airport.

In the past he was arrested, handcuffed and sent to jail but he refused to bow before anybody, he added.

He said in the Panama Papers case the burden of proof was put on him and he and his children faced the JIT.

“Today, I have faced the accountability court. I believe that Allah and the people of Pakistan are with me, and I hope that, somewhere, justice is alive.”

He said he and his family were victims of lies of his opponents.

He said he was fighting the case of Quaid’s Pakistan and case of the people, Constitution, democracy and respect of the vote.

Nawaz Sharif vowed to continue fighting case of the people and expressed the hope that people of Pakistan will win their case for respect of vote and democracy.

He said the entire country knew that the reason for his disqualification was the salary that he did not receive from his son, adding the salary which was not received was declared his asset and he was made ineligible.

He said he knew why he was punished but he will not let problems of his family overshadow issues faced by people of the country.

He thanked the workers and leaders of his party for staying strongly with him and said, “We will not let the country’s direction change. I will make sacrifices necessary for my country.”

He said everybody knew what was the condition of Pakistan in 2013 and for the last four years, Pakistan had travelled a long distance on the road to progress and development.

Nawaz Sharif said he wanted that those who counted his assets also listed the “assets in his political account.”

Nawaz Sharif listed the projects like motorways, power plants, Kacchi Canal in Balochistan, airports and Neelum Jhelum Hydropower Project as some of the achievements of his government.

He said it was their utmost effort, that the CPEC project and the remaining power projects were completed on time.

While mentioning the residents of NA-120 constituency, the former prime minister said the voters delivered victory for PML-N despite difficulties and the win would be a milestone for the country.

Nawaz Sharif said he was hopeful that the decision of NA-120 constituency would also be reflected in the general election of 2018.

He expressed regret at the incident of mistreatment of a journalist during hearing at the accountability court.

“I directed Talal Chaudhry to investigate the incident and find the causes that led to the happening.”

He said he was an ardent supporter of the right to freedom of opinion.