Nawaz: Monopoly of few people not acceptable

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Says case started with Panama, and I was ousted over iqama; Promises new programme on Independence Day

Staff Reporter

Lahore

Reaching his final destination in Lahore, Data Darbar Chowk, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif raised the question that why no prime minister in the 70-year history of Pakistan was allowed to complete his term.
“Should monopoly of a few people suppress the 200 million people of Pakistan? This treatment is not acceptable to us,” he said.
Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s ‘homecoming’ rally was received by thousands of jubilant Pakistan Muslim League-N activists and supporters on its arrival in Lahore.
Nawaz Sharif’s vehicle was showered with rose petals and there were plenty of fireworks as his caravan inched its way through the city.
Balochistan Chief Minister Sanaullah Zehri, who belongs to the PML-N, also arrived in Lahore to join the party’s grand show.
Nawaz Sharif said that the city’s voters had made him the prime minister but “five people sent him home”.
The former premier, in his final address after various stopovers during his four-day homecoming rally, said that in the entire history of the country not a single prime minister was allowed to complete his tenure and all were removed under a conspiracy.
“All prime ministers were removed. Were all of them corrupt,” asked Nawaz. He asked if the dictators who “have eaten away 30 years of Pakistan” will ever be held accountable.
He implored his supporters to take a stand against this treatment of prime ministers, saying “there is no country [in the world] like Pakistan where there is no importance of the votes of the masses”.
Condemning the blast near Quetta’s Pishin Stop, Nawaz Sharif said that he was extremely saddened over the death of common citizens and security personnel in the blast. The former premier expressed sympathies for the families of those affected
“Will you stand with me as we bring a revolution to Pakistan? It is August 14 day after tomorrow: remember the sacrifices of the people who made Pakistan. We have to honour their sacrifices. They must be rolling in their graves at what we have done with this country,” he said.
“I will never forget the love I have received on this trip. I promise to bring forth my [new] programme [manifesto] on August 14, and I have full faith you will back me when I do,” he said.
“What am I seeing today in Lahore?” Nawaz Sharif said as he started his address to the mammoth crowd at Data Darbar. “I have never seen anything like this before.”
“You made me a prime minister, and five people — five people — disqualified me,” the deposed prime minister said, stepping into his stump speech for the rally. “Tell me, is their verdict acceptable to you?” he asked, to loud shouts of dissent.
“I have come to you after four days on the road. Everyone in Pakistan is protesting Nawaz Sharif’s disqualification,” he told his supporters.
Turning his guns on the Supreme Court judges who deemed him unfit to hold public office, he said: “Those who disqualified Nawaz Sharif, are they themselves qualified [to make that decision]?”
“Nawaz Sharif was not involved in any corruption or any misappropriation. They disqualified me for not taking a salary from my son — what is that to you [the judges]? Whether I take something from my son or not, what is that to you?”
“They have been treating your prime ministers the same way for the past 70 years,” he said, addressing the gathering. “Is this acceptable to you?”
Recalling that he was elected on promises that he would end electricity load-shedding and initiate development projects, Nawaz Sharif asked his supporters if he had not delivered.
“When so many good things are happening in the country, is this how your prime minister should be treated?”
“No! This is unacceptable to us!” he said.
“The passion and spirit I’m seeing is a harbinger of a revolution!” he said. “If this revolution does not arrive, nothing will change. If this revolution does not happen, we will become the worst nation in the region.”
“Who are these people who have disrupted our progress? Do you not think that they should be held responsible?
“The people who’ve played with Pakistan for the last 70 years — don’t you all think that they should be held accountable?” he asked his supporters, who responded with a resounding “yes!”
“You will have to take a brave stand against these people!” he urged.
“This country has already been a victim of a grave accident in 1971 — I hope that something similar never happens again,” he said, recalling the secession of Bangladesh from Pakistan after a political falling-out over which wing of the country would install a prime minister.
Turning again to his ‘achievements’ as a leader, he asked: “Is the Pakistan of 2017 not better than the Pakistan of 2013?”, which was responded with loud shouts of “yes!”
“Shouldn’t Nawaz Sharif have been praised for what he achieved?” he asked.
“What am I seeing today in Lahore?” Nawaz Sharif said as he started his address to the mammoth crowd at Data Darbar. “I have never seen anything like this before.”
Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif addressing the rally before Nawaz Sharif said that the youth participating in the rally have proved Imran Khan wrong.
“Not one accusation of corruption has been proven against us,” he said.
Earlier addressing his supporters at Shahdara, Nawaz said that his disqualification verdict was not accepted by the masses and together with the people change will be brought to Pakistan.
“You have to support me. Promise that you will support Nawaz Sharif,” said the former premier.
He said he will not sit with ease and neither will the people sit at ease till betterment is brought to the country.
“I have come from Islamabad, and all along the route people rejected the verdict,” said Nawaz. “The case started with Panama, and I was ousted over an iqama,” said Nawaz referring to the verdict passed in the Panama Papers case.
PML-N supporters were seen rejoicing at Nawaz’s arrival at the venue. Due to heavy congestion on the roads, vehicles which are part Nawaz’s caravan have been asked to stop before Ravi bridge.
Only vehicles belonging to Nawaz and PML-N leaders were allowed to proceed. Participants of the rally were advised to proceed on foot from the bridge to Daata Darbar.
The local administration has instructed workers to park their vehicles at Shahdara.
A large number of PML-N supporters have arrived at the venue. Local administration has stopped the Metro route between Shahdara and Daata Bar.
Security personnel have conducted a sweep of the stage set-up at Shahdara to ensure security of the former premier. Metal detectors and sniffer dogs were used by security forces to mitigate the risk of any untoward incident.
Addressing his supporters during a stopover at Muridke, Nawaz pledged his loyalty to the public and said he would “never betray” them.
“Today, Nawaz Sharif has come to you. You made Nawaz Sharif the PM, you sent Nawaz Sharif to Islamabad. There is no corruption against me. No irregularities. No discrepancies,” he said to loud chants of support from the crowd.
“Tell me, do you accept the [Supreme Court] verdict? Do you accept this insult to your mandate?” the ousted prime minister questioned. Nawaz lamented that Pakistan was “facing ridicule” around the world because of the apex court’s judgment.
“This is a joke. Pakistanis reject this decision. I will see to it that your vote is respected. PML-N will see to it,” Nawaz vowed. On Saturday morning, Nawaz’s convoy left Gujranwala for Lahore on the fourth day of the rally.
The former PM’s cavalcade made its first stopover at Kamoke, as eager supporters gathered on the route in hundreds to greet him.