Nawaz denies plotting against ex-army and spy chiefs, seeks action against ‘conspirators’

Former PM also stresses he has no right to pardon “enemies of people”, says not interested in revenge

PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif addresses an event in Lahore on December 13, 2023, in this still taken from a video. — X/@pmln_org
  • I have no right to pardon enemies of the people: Nawaz.
  • Says 250 million people were “punished” via my ouster.
  • Reiterates not being interested in revenge if rises to power.

ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif said Wednesday he never conspired against ex-army and spy chiefs during his tenure as the country’s premier, Geo News reported.

Addressing the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) parliamentary board meeting in Lahore, the party supremo said: “I never conspired against Gen (retd) Bajwa and Gen (retd) Faiz Hamid […] nor did I conspired against Gen (retd) Raheel Sharif.” 

The veteran politician, who came back home from four years of self-imposed exile in London in October, is eyeing to become the country’s prime minister for a record fourth time after being able to secure notable relief from courts in multiple graft cases ahead of the upcoming general elections slated for February 8, 2024.

A day earlier, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) overturned the conviction of the three-time former prime minister in the Al-Azizia reference — a case in which he was handed a seven-year sentence along with a fine of £2.5 million for failing to justify the source of the funds provided to set up Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Hill Metal Establishment (HME) in Saudi Arabia.

The decision came after Nawaz’s acquittal in the Avenfield Apartments reference — where he was sentenced to 10 years over owning assets beyond means — after the IHC accepted his appeal against the conviction in the said case last month.

In his address, he expressed gratitude for his acquittal in “fake” cases. 

Calling for the conspirators’ names to be brought forward, the PML-N supremo reiterated that he has no interest in seeking revenge, but nevertheless, stressed the need for those responsible for his ouster to be held accountable.

“I have no right to pardon those who are the enemy of the people,” he noted.

“Whatever happened to me [and my family] is now in the past,” he said, but claimed that it wasn’t just them who were punished, it was the entire nation of 250 million who suffered as a result.

Commenting on the recent relief in Al Azizia and Avenfield graft cases, the former premier said: “There was nothing substantive in these cases, their hollowness was proved in the high court […] When they did not find anything in Panama, they took up the iqama issue [to oust me]”.

“They wanted to punish me by ousting me, but they couldn’t rely on the Panama case for that,” Nawaz said, adding that when no evidence was found against him, he was sentenced based on an iqama instead.

Lamenting that remarks like “Sicilian mafia, God Father” were made by “judges” against him, the PML-N supremo wondered if it suited the judges to make such comments.

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