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Bringing bill in NA: PPP’s behaviour is deplorable, says Nawaz

ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif Wednesday deplored the behaviour of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), saying that it had moved a bill to amend legislation that enabled a disqualified person to head a political party.

While talking to the media outside the Accountability Court after hearing of references against him, Nawaz Sharif said that the PPP by supporting a legislation introduced by the dictators has damaged its democratic credentials.

“The People’s Party which has a history of struggle for the democratic rights, should not forget its past and sacrifices, its workers laid down. I am very much pained that why the PPP supported the law of dictators in parliament,” Nawaz Sharif said.

Offering olive branch to the PPP yet another time, Nawaz Sharif said that he is willing to act upon Charter of Democracy (CoD) and prepared for a meeting with Asif Ali Zardari for the sake of democracy, supremacy of the Constitution and Pakistan. He announced to probe the reports that the members of the ruling alliance were persuaded through anonymous phone calls for not turning up in the session of the National Assembly and staying away from the voting in the House.

Nawaz Sharif refused to comment on the ongoing sin-in (dharna) at Faizabad Interchange after a question posed to him. He, however, expressed his satisfaction over the November 21 rejected bill and said that the Pakistani parliament is not ready to endorse the amendments brought about by the dictators.

An overwhelming majority in parliament is not ready to give indemnity to the laws introduced by the dictators. He felicitated PML-N and allied parties while saying that they rejected the black laws introduced by the dictators. Last day it was good day for all the democracy-loving people. He said that it is a major development and an eye-opener for those who deviated from the path of democracy.

Nawaz Sharif said he has no grudge against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) for favoring the bill as this party has no nexus whatsoever with democracy and they are pursuing policies of the dictators. He said that PTI is neither political nor democratic party. He termed the PTI a fascist and undemocratic party.

Nawaz Sharif lashed at the PTI and said it has spoiled the political culture and decency form the politics as it is trying to mutilate the social fiber of the country but “we will not let it happen”. The PTI, he said, has no other quality but to malign, abuse, tell lie, hurl baseless allegations and mud-slinging on others. He brushed aside any proposal regarding infamous NRO and said that he never availed any NRO and has no intention to for it in future.

He said that the world is changing. When a martial law was imposed in 1958, it was a different situation and circumstances. In 1977 the situation was different to 1999 when another martial law was imposed. He questioned that where is the dictator who imposed martial law in the country in 1999. Now he can't even dare to enter the country. This is the change and this change will reach its logical conclusion and nobody can stop this change Nawaz Sharif said.

He said that he will ensure the power and sanctity of vote in this country. I believe that this country cannot run without this change. This is my message and I believe that this message will be conveyed to all and sundry throughout the country till next election, he added.

Inside the court, while talking to the reporters, he said that our government delivered despite major protests/ sit-ins and brought about a change in this country. Sit-ins are continued from 2014 and government has not been provided with an opportunity to work with peace of mind. He said that he is particularly talking about PTI whose chief minister used to participate in 2014 sit-ins with government vehicles. PTI members are proving liars and deceivers and now their corruption scandals also emerging.

Commenting about the judicial cases, Nawaz Sharif said that they decide our cases in a hurry and I don't know why court decisions get delayed in others’ cases. He once again said that the judicial system has double standards and rules of the game should be on parity basis. Nawaz Sharif said that the judges should not have had passed remarks like “Godfather” and “Sicilian Mafia” as it does not suit them.

Earlier, legal counsels for Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz and Captain (R) Safdar, during cross examination of the prosecution witnesses in the Avenfield Apartments corruption reference here on Wednesday at the Accountability Court (AC), pointed out that neither Mian Nawaz Sharif nor Maryam Nawaz was a defendant in the case pertaining Al Tawfeek Investment Company in which High Court of Justice Queen's Bench Division in London had charged the four London flats to the extent of interest. It was further pointed out in the court that in said case defendants were Mian Muhammad Sharif, Shahbaz Sharif and Mian Abbas Sharif.

During Wednesday's proceedings, the AC recorded statements of the two prosecution witnesses in Avenfield Apartments corruption reference while one each in Flagships and Azizia Steel Company/ Hill Metal Establishment corruption references.

A prosecution witness. Muhammad Rasheed clerk of a law firm, recorded his statement. The law firm was assigned with the task to serve Justice Queen's bench order to the defendants in Pakistan. Muhammad Rasheed stated before the court that he was directed by his firm to deliver a sealed envelope to National Accountability Bureau (NAB) authorities that he did. He has no connection whatsoever with the documents containing inside the envelope. Muhammad Rasheed, during cross-examination, told the court that he has been working with the said law firm since 1994. After he handed over the envelope, the NAB authorities did not recorded his statement, he also said.

An advocate, Mazhar Raza Bangash, from Riaa Barker Gillete (RBG) law firm was the second witness in Avenfield corruption reference. His previous employer, another law firm was assigned with the task to serve Justice Queen's bench order to the defendants of Al Tawfeek in Pakistan in November 1999. At some instance advocate Bangash found it hard to recollect certain details while saying that it was 19 years old matter.

Advocate Bangash said that he appeared before NAB Lahore on August 30 where an investigation officer (IO) Imran received him and showed him photocopies of the Justice Queen's bench orders and an affidavit of Mr Shezi Nackvi. It to mention here that Supreme Court of Pakistan in its April 20 order while mentioning Justice Queen's Bench division had said "the orders bringing the flats under the charge were passed on the basis of a statement sworn on an affidavit by Shezi Nackvi as is clear by the tenor of the orders mentioned above; that the affidavit of the said Mr. Shezi Nackvi dated 13.01.2017 gives added strength to the version".

Advocate Bangash said that he played a part of just a postman and served orders of Justice Queen's bench to Mian Muhammad Sharif, Mian Abbas Sharif and Mian Shahbaz Sharif and to some other creditor banks. He further said that Mian Shahbaz Sharif at that time was behind the bars in Karachi and he refused to receive the orders while saying that he has to first consult his lawyers.

During cross-examination, legal counsels for Nawaz Sharif, Maryam and Capt (R) Safdar objected over the documents produced before the court, saying that these were photocopies and could not be produced as evidence.  

Advocate Bangash admitted that, in Justice Queen's bench there was no mention of Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz and his sons. A prosecution witness Shehbaz Haider, chief financial officer of Chaudhry Sugar Mills, recorded his statement in Flagship investment corruption reference. He stated before the court that Hassan Nawaz had given a loan to Chaudhry Sugar Mills. A part of loan was given to Maryam Nawaz while another part was adjusted as a loan payable to Chaudhry Sugar Mills by Shamim Sugar Mills. The witness admitted that Nawaz Sharif was not a shareholder in Shamim Sugar Mills.

Another prosecution witness Malik Tayyab Moazzam, branch manager Standard Chartered Bank, Johar Town and Model Town branches of Lahore, also recorded his statement. Moazzam presented details of five bank accounts of Nawaz Sharif and money transferred by Hussain Nawaz to his account. Malik Tayyab had volumes of documents to exhibit. The court then put off recording his statement till Monday (Nov 27), while proceedings in three corruption references will resume on November 28.

Today's proceeding legal counsels for Nawaz Sharif and Maryam submitted applications of their clients seeking exemption from personal appearance before the court. Previously court had allowed Nawaz Sharif seven days exemption from November 20 till November 27 and 30 days exemption to Maryam Nawaz. Their counsel told the court that both father and daughter postponed their London trips and now they will depart on December 5. At this the AC directed the prosecution to submit reply on next hearing. Today's proceedings a great number of PML-N senior leadership accompanied Nawaz Sharif in the court, while the former prime minister seemed in a quite pleasant mood.

Meanwhile, talking to his interlocutors including the media during a meeting with members of parliament in the Punjab House, PML-N President Nawaz Sharif said that the judges, who had taken oath under the Provisional Constitution Order (PCO), couldn’t dispense justice and have no moral justification for declaring others as ‘not being truthful and trustworthy (Sadiq and Ameen)’.

Nawaz Sharif said that the constitutional amendment to facilitate delimitations of the constituencies for holding the polls in time should have been adopted without delay of a second since it was in the national interest and not for any individual.

“I couldn’t understand the reluctance on the part of any party for the passage of the same.” The amendment is for the democracy and in the best interest of the country. “It is not linked to my qualification or disqualification,” he added in lighter vein.

Criticising the verdict regarding Panama Papers case, Nawaz Sharif maintained that had the judgment been on the basis of justice, it would have been pertaining to Panama Papers not about ‘Aqama’ (residence permit).

The members of the parliament belonging to the ruling alliance assured their unflinching support to Nawaz Sharif in his future endeavours. He paid rich tribute to them for their role in discarding dictator’s fabricated amendment on Tuesday evening by creating history. He announced to host feast for the members in Raiwind in few days.

Nawaz Sharif said that every Pakistani should join him for changing the fate of the country and its future generations. “My struggle had always been for the sake of Pakistan and if we fail in arresting the decay now, God forbid development and progress could go to drains.”

He reminded that the PML-N has delivered despite frequent sit-ins against the government right from the beginning. The government has not been allowed to work properly and the sit-ins have been going on since 2014. “I’m talking about the PTI sit-in,” elaborated Nawaz Sharif.

“They (PTI leaders) are turning out to be liars,” Nawaz said, adding that corruption scandals against Imran Khan, Jahangir Tareen, and Aleem Khan have also been public now.

“Judgments in our cases come very early. Don’t know how much time will be taken for decisions in their cases,” he said. He said that the courts have “double standards” while dealing with their and others’ cases. “Rules of the game should be equal,” he said, adding: “Yardstick is different in our cases.”

He said that the sit-in held by the PTI in 2014 is continuing in the country in one form or another. He alleged that verdicts against his family are announced swiftly and wondered when judgments against the PTI leaders will be announced. "The standard of justice applies differently to us than others. The mockery of requisites of justice should be stopped."

He said the court judgments against his family have affected the government's progress "but we will continue to perform." He visited Parliamentary Secretary Rajab Ali Baloch who is fighting against cancer and admitted in a local hospital. He came to the Parliament House on Tuesday evening to cast his vote despite finding difficulty in moving and disregarding his doctor’s advice. Nawaz also visited another member National Assembly Najaf Sial who is confined to bed in a hospital.

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