‘Served country with loyalty’: Nawaz tells supporters after return to Pakistan

Islamabad: PML-N chief and former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif returned home last week after a four-year-long self-imposed exile, and said that he served the country with loyalty whenever he was given a chance, resolved its issues, and never hesitated from any sacrifice.

Addressing a rally in Lahore, hours after his return – months before the next general elections, expected to be held early in 2024, he said that his relationship with the nation is the same as when he left the country and he was proud to see “loyalty in the eyes of people”, Geo TV reported.

Sharif also questioned why his governments were toppled as he recalled that he had stood up to then US President Bill Clinton on the issue of nuclear tests. “Clinton had offered $5 billion to me in 1999 for not carrying out nuclear tests, but my conscience did not allow me to accept the thing which was against the interest of Pakistan,” he said.

“Are our (PML-N) governments toppled down and rulings are issued against us (for refusing the US and taking a stance for the interest of Pakistan)?” he asked. He asserted that no one in Pakistan would be unemployed if his party was allowed to continue the “1990s momentum”.

“I was ousted because I didn’t allow the dollar rate to fluctuate,” he alleged. Sharif lamented that due to the ongoing economic crisis, “one has to decide whether to pay electricity bills or take care of one’s children” and said in his time in power, the poor had enough money to avail of medical treatment.

“This didn’t start in Shehbaz’s tenure. It started way before that. The dollar was out of control, bills were going up, and rates of daily utilities and petrol were also surging. During our tenure sugar was 50 rupees per kilogram, today it is at 250… This is why you ousted Nawaz Sharif?” the former prime minister said while criticizing his disqualification in 2017.

The former PM said his party is in a position to resolve the masses’ woes if elected into power. Sharif’s return has likely been smoothed by a deal between the military establishment and his party to prevent significant legal hurdles, said analyst Zahid Hussain.

Punjab govt suspends Nawaz Sharif’s sentence in corruption case

Pakistan’s Punjab provincial government has suspended Nawaz Sharif’s seven-year sentence in the Al-Azizia case while two separate courts confirmed his bail in three different corruption cases. This marked a major legal relief to the former premier after his return from London following four years of self-exile.

Sharif marked his attendance in the Accountability Court of Judge Muhammad Bashir, who had suspended his arrest orders in the Toshakhana case last week to facilitate his return to Pakistan.

The attendance was significant to show that he had surrendered before the court. He was allowed to leave after the judge witnessed his presence in the courtroom. During the hearing, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) prosecutor contended that Sharif had surrendered and therefore, his arrest warrants should be cancelled. “If the warrants are cancelled, the trial can move forward,” he said.

The judge subsequently confirmed Sharif’s bail in the case against surety bonds of Rs 1 million. The hearing of the case was adjourned till November 20.

Image courtesy of outlookindia.com

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