Nawaz backs Maryam’s demand of live broadcast of corruption proceedings

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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) lifetime Quaid and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday reiterated his daughter Maryam Nawaz’s demand of live broadcast of corruption proceedings against the Sharif family.

Addressing a gathering in Faisalabad marking the death anniversary of Chaudhry Sharif on Wednesday, Nawaz vowed to continue his fight saying, “I’m not the one to back down. I will not back down from my principals. I will continue to fight.”

“On what basis is the trial being carried out against me? Is this decision acceptable to you,” the former premier asked.  “The cases against me are all lies. I have always worked sincerely and I condemn corruption, kickbacks and commission.”

“Pakistan is the property of 220 million people. A few people cannot be allowed to impose a monopoly on this country,” he vowed.

Earlier in the day, PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz demanded in a tweet that trial proceedings against the Sharif family be broadcast live.

“Demand: Accountability court proceedings against Nawaz and I should be broadcast live to make the public cognisant of the truth,” Maryam said in a tweet posted on Wednesday.

Responding to Maryam’s tweet, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Spokesperson Fawad Chaudhry said that the PTI agrees with the proposal floated by Maryam 100 per cent. “We had also demanded that the proceedings of the JIT probing the Panama Papers case and the Supreme Court proceedings be broadcast live,” he tweeted.

“The decision to broadcast proceedings rests with the court,” he added. Moreover, the PTI leader said they want the JIT’s video recordings of interrogations released to the public as well.

Speaking on the occasion in Faisalabad, Maryam vowed not to let any conspiracies succeed against the ruling PML-N.

The PML-N heir apparent called on the people to respect their vote and promise that they will support Nawaz throughout. “There have been corruption allegations worth billions of rupees against us, yet Nawaz was ousted over possession of Iqama, for not taking salary from his son,” she lamented.

“Respecting the vote means respecting the people. Promise me, that you will respect the vote and yourselves,” she said, adding that the people have taken responsibility for respecting their vote.

PM asked to take notice of ‘suspicious’ activities in Balochistan

Earlier, former premier Nawaz Sharif asked Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi to take notice of “suspicious” activities in Balochistan, claiming that a forbidden game was being played in the country to which seasoned politicians were privy.

Talking to reporters inside the accountability court conducting corruption proceedings against him, the PML-N supremo said that the recent changes in Balochistan’s politics, as well as the election of the Senate chairman, were “suspicious”.

“Recently-elected Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani is a ‘suspicious’ man,” he added.

Nawaz Sharif said the country managed to attain freedom from the British but is now trapped in martial laws. “There is no room to delay the general elections, it will not be accepted,” warned Nawaz.

The former premier said he does not know the inside story but what Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Co-Chairman Asif Zardari is doing is shameful. He also asked Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan to declare if his party members did not vote for the PPP candidate in the recent Senate chairman elections.

Referring to Imran’s earlier claims that he would never side with Zardari, the PML-N supremo said, “Politicians should have some principles.”

The PML-N had accused the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP)-led alliance of indulging in horse-trading during the Senate elections, with Maryam Nawaz, the former first daughter, terming the opposition senators ‘pawn in the chess game’.

On March 14, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had taken suo moto notice of the alleged horse-trading in the Senate elections, held on March 3.

Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Justice (r) Sardar Raza Khan had said, “It is unfortunate that those who sell their vote, and those who buy it are both parliamentarians.”

‘THEY DID NOT ALLOW ME TO VISIT MY WIFE’:

Referring to his application to visit his ailing wife, Kulsoom Nawaz, being rejected, Nawaz said doctors in London wanted him to be present for consultations on vital medical decisions related to his wife’s treatment.

“They did not allow me to visit my wife.”

When the journalists pointed out that the judge had allowed him to travel in between hearings and he had five days to do so, Nawaz said that two days are spent in travelling and added that the last break fell on the weekend when the doctors did not consult.

Nawaz’s wife Kulsoom has been in London seeking cancer treatment since late last year. Nawaz and Maryam have twice requested the court in recent months to exempt them from appearance so they can go abroad but the pleas have been refused.

The former premier claimed that he has not spoken with Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on his recent meeting with Chief Justice of Pakistan Saqib Nisar.

“People have been waiting decades for court decisions but the chief justice is busy in checking the quality of milk,” he said.

He also supported the right of voting for overseas Pakistanis, saying he has always advocated for it.

Responding to another query on increased load-shedding in the country despite the government’s claims, the PML-N leader claimed that load-shedding was at a minimum during his tenure as the capacity of electricity was increased by thousands of megawatts.

“I will speak to the government about it to find out whether this was related to non-payment issues or something else.”

The Sharif family has been on trial in connection with corruption references pertaining to Panama Papers. The references had been prepared in light of the 2017 Supreme Court verdict in the case. The court had directed the top anti-graft body, National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to file references against Nawaz Sharif, his sons, daughter Maryam Nawaz, son-in-law Capt (r) Safdar and Ishaq Dar.

After the top court’s instructions to conclude the references within six months expired last month, the accountability court requested the SC to extend the time period for ongoing trials. The Sharif family has maintained innocence in all corruption charges.

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