Nawaz says rigged elections always harmed Pakistan

The former premier says wants to participate in election campaign but staying in London due to Kulsoom's condition

Murtaza Ali Shah
Wadood Mushtaq
Former premier Nawaz Sharif says he wants to participate in election campaign but staying in London due to Kulsoom's condition. — Geo News FILE

LONDON: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif has said that rigged and manipulated elections have always turned out to be horrible for Pakistan and its people, and everything must be done to ensure that the polls next month are held in a free and fair atmosphere.

Speaking for the first time on Pakistani politics in nearly two weeks, since his arrival in London a day before Eid, the former premier said, "If elections are rigged and not held in a free and fair atmosphere then it will create further problems and instability in the country in future. It’s best that the elections are held free and fair."

Speaking about the arrest of Raja Qamar-ul-Islam, PMLN’s candidate against Chaudhary Nisar, by the National Accountability Bureau, Nawaz said that his arrest was "unfortunate" and such actions "create concerns."

He said that Islam got "clean chit" a few days ago from the NAB but then he was arrested. "These things create concerns. Not only that such actions should be avoided but should never happen."

When asked about his absence from the election process in Pakistan, the former premier said that he came to London to spend three to four days with his cancer-patient wife Kulsoom Nawaz but learnt upon landing in London that she had suffered a cardiac arrest.

"I want to go back and participate in elections. I have attended nearly 100 NAB court appearances so that the cases against me should reach to some conclusion. I came to London for three to four days for Eid but what has happened is Allah’s will," he said.

"I came here with different intention but now I have to stay here because of her situation. She is still on the ventilator and her situation hasn’t changed much."

When asked about reports in western press about the alleged rigging of elections, he said that the whole world is witnessing what’s happening.

"We shouldn’t make a laughing stock of ourselves because whenever elections have been rigged, results have been horrible for our country. We need to avoid that," the former premier said.

Noting that what’s being reported is reflective of what’s happening in Pakistan, he said, "Not only Pakistan, but the whole world is watching."