'Respect the vote' means respect Pakistanis, says Nawaz

'Pakistan not property of few people, it belongs to nation of 220 million'


MANSEHRA: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Sunday said his party's 'respect the vote' campaign demands respect for the people of Pakistan.

"Our call to respect the vote demands respect for the people of Pakistan. This country does not belong to a few people; it belongs to the nation of 220 million people," he said, adding that the citizens of this country are not slaves.  

The Pakistan Muslim League-N supremo (PML-N) was addressing a rally in Mansehra in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).

The veteran politician, who was disqualified from holding public office following the Supreme Court's verdict on Panama Papers case, said that decision would be reversed after his party would stand victorious in the upcoming general elections.

"We will reverse the disqualification decision through the [national] assembly after winning the 2018 elections," said Nawaz, adding that his party will serve a tremendous defeat to political rivals Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) by getting more votes than the previous election.

In criticism directed towards political rival Imran Khan, chairman of PTI, Nawaz said 'naya [new] Pakistan' was only visible in Lahore and Punjab, as KP and Sindh continue to present a dreary picture of 'old Pakistan.'

PTI has claimed it will create 'naya Pakistan' by bringing significant reforms to all public sectors with a special focus on education and health.   

The party supremo said that all he saw in KP was pollution. 

"Had Shehbaz Sharif been serving as the chief minister of KP, he would have turned it around like Punjab," Nawaz told the crowd. "Go to Punjab and witness the naya [new] Pakistan for yourself."   

"If vote is respected in 2018 [elections], then we will create a 'naya [new] Pakistan' in the old and dilapidated KP."

The organiser of the event, Federal Religious Affairs Minister Sardar Mohammad Yousaf, said earlier that a 120 by 40 feet stage has been set up at the venue for the party leadership. Owing to gusty winds and rain, the arrangements at the venue were adversely affected and the event was delayed.

Yousaf, who has been elected to the National Assembly from the area, had added that "come rain or sunshine, the show will go on".

He claimed to have made arrangements of over 100,000 people and vowed to prove this to be Hazara Division’s biggest public gathering. 

The PML-N supremo and daughter have been addressing a string of rallies across the country recently as part of their 'respect the vote' campaign following Nawaz's disqualification by the Supreme Court last year. 

Addressing a rally in Sadiqabad on Wednesday, Nawaz had said he had no competition with Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Imran Khan and Pakistan Peoples Party Asif Ali Zardari.

He had said that it appeared as if Sadiqabad had been awakening today, the heart of south Punjab had been awakening. "I am very lucky for one does not get such respects from the people easily."

In February this year, Maryam, addressed a social media convention of the party in Mansehra District.

It was the first of its kind event as well as Maryam's first rally in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

"The court of the people exonerated Nawaz Sharif. One after the other, the people's court gave its verdict, as it did in Lodhran," she had said at the event.