Friday Jul 06, 2018
LONDON: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif vowed on Friday to return to Pakistan after his wife regains consciousness, despite being sentenced to a total of 11 years in prison in the Avenfield properties case.
"It is my wish to speak to her [Kulsoom]. I [go to the hospital] every day with the hope that she regains consciousness and I am able to meet her. She has been my life partner for 45 years. This partnership is no ordinary partnership,” said the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz supremo while addressing a press conference sitting alongside his daughter Maryam Nawaz, who has been sentenced to a total of eight years in jail.
The ousted premier remarked that every possible tactic has been employed against him, which has no parallel in the country’s history.
"These of types verdict and punishments are expected in the path I have undertaken," Nawaz said while referring to the Avenfield verdict.
Expressing his reservation, he claimed that the prosecution failed to prove any corruption charges against him. "No pleas filed by me in court were approved, most of them were rejected, this is unfortunate because that doesn’t happen in most cases."
Nawaz said that he stands vindicated that the accountability court has now confirmed that he was not involved in corruption, dishonesty or misconduct while in public office and that he was convicted on “assets beyond means” because of his politics and in order to teach him a lesson for refusing to take dictation.
He referred to the operative part of the 174-page judgment in which the court admitted that the prosecution failed to establish ownership of the Avenfield flats but in the absence of relevant documents to disprove ownership, the presumption was established that Nawaz Sharif was the owner of the properties.
“I am honoured that all allegations of corruption against me have not been proven, prosecution failed to prove corruption case against me and this is what I have said all along that courts have been used to victimise me.”
He promised that till the time vote is not given respect and masses don’t get their right to govern, he will continue his struggle.
Nawaz revealed that he had been offered a deal of leaving Pakistan in return for the end of his trial over alleged corruption.
“Messages were sent to me to settle abroad with my daughter, not come back to Pakistan,” he said, adding that a few months back while he was in London with his cancer-patient wife Kulsoom, he was offered a deal to stay in London but he refused the deal.
“I was told that just stay in London, don’t come back and the cases will go away,” he said. “I said no to the deal as that would have compromised my politics and my stance for the rights of Pakistanis. I could have easily chosen that path but I refused.”
Nawaz announced that he was returning to Pakistan to face prison and didn’t fear going behind the bars. “ I am coming back. I have been in prison before for 14 months in 1999 in a fake plane hijacking case. Like that fake conviction, this is another fake conviction."
He further lamented that prime ministers previously have been sent packing on one accusation or the other.
"Why should we be slaves of a selected few after freedom from the British. I wish the same pace is adopted in the cases against those who violated the constitution," he remarked.
Nawaz said that the PML-N is far ahead than the other parties despite facing oppression, and that he will avail all legal avenues.
"We are leading all the opinion polls," he said, and appealed to the nation to support him.
“I am asking the nation to stand with me in this defining moment and not abandon me. Let’s change Pakistan, we have been waiting for this day for a long time, it is here now and there is no room for hesitation.”
PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz, who has also been disqualified from contesting the upcoming General Election 2018, said: "I could've also taken the easy route like other politicians but I chose not to appease everyone.
"My father's only crime is that he speaks the truth."
Maryam said that she has been sentenced by the court despite not holding any public office yet.
"It's difficult to talk about law and Constitution in Pakistan right now," she lamented.