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23 February, 2018 00:00 00 AM
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‘Attemps on to bar me from politics for life

Nawaz says after SC ruling
Dawn from Islamabad
‘Attemps on to bar me from politics for life
Supporters of ousted Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif shout slogans against the Supreme Court verdict outside an accountability court where Sharif arrived to face corruption charges in Islamabad yesterday. AFP Photo

Former premier Nawaz Sharif, who was removed as head of his own party on Wednesday by the Supreme Court, accused 'them' ─ without specifying who they are ─ of deliberating over how to deprive Nawaz Sharif of participation in politics for the rest of his life, reports Dawn from Islamabad. Sharif, speaking to the media outside an accountability court in Islamabad ─ where he appeared with his daughter Maryam Nawaz for the hearing of corruption references against himself and his family members ─ said the Supreme Court's ruling on the petitions challenging the Elections Act 2017 was not unexpected for him.

Sharif was disqualified from public office in a landmark July 28, 2017, judgement on the Panama Papers case, after which he was also removed from his post as PML-N head. The passage of the Elections Act 2017 paved

the way for him to be re-elected as head of the party once again in October.The former PML-N chief said that the apex court’s ruling which stripped him of party presidency was not unexpected for him. “First, they paralysed the executive,” Sharif said. “Then yesterday, they snatched away the authority of Parliament [to make laws].” He added that after the Panamagate verdict stripped him of his premiership and yesterday’s ruling took away his position as party head, he was now only left with his name. “Now, only I am left. My name Muhammad Nawaz Sharif remains. If you want to snatch this as well then do it,” he said.

“Find an article in the Constitution ─ you may be able to find it ─ through which you can take away Muhammad Nawaz Sharif’s name. And if you do not find it, then take help from Black’s Law Dictionary,” Sharif said, referring to the Panamagate verdict which had relied on the dictionary to specify the definition of the term ‘asset’. Sharif said that there is no law in Pakistan that gives the court the right to disqualify a prime minister the way he was.

“Now they are further deliberating over disqualifying Nawaz Sharif from politics for life. What is all of this?” he questioned.

He claimed that the court had declared the Elections Act 2017 as being person-specific, although the same law had originally been created by former PM Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and abrogated by a martial law administrator.

Following his appearance at the accountability court, Sharif and Maryam were granted an exemption from appearing before the court for the rest of the day’s proceedings.

The court was hearing three references related to the Sharif family’s Flagship Investments Ltd, the Avenfield (London) properties, Jeddah-based Al-Azizia Company, and Hill Metal Establishment, filed in accordance with the SC orders in the Panamagate verdict.

The court reserved its judgement on objections by Sharif’s counsel regarding the filing of supplementary references by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), adjourning the hearing until 1:30pm, when statements of two witnesses — the owner of UK-based Quist Solicitors, Akhtar Raja, and principal at the Radley Forensic Document Laboratory, Robert W. Radley — were expected to be recorded via video link.

Defence counsel Ayesha Hamid argued that supplementary references were a way to unnecessarily prolong the proceedings. She also argued that her client’s legal team was not informed about the new witnesses, therefore did not have enough time to prepare for cross-questioning.

She said that it was not possible to record the statements of 17 witnesses in one day and requested more time for preparation.

Explaining the need to file supplementary references, the NAB prosecutor explained that the SC had asked NAB to file preliminary references within six weeks which is why supplementary references had to be filed later. New evidence including new documents have been included in supplementary references, he added.

Following his appearance at the accountability court, Nawaz Sharif and senior PML-N leaders held a meeting at Punjab House in the capital. A large number of PML-N workers and supporters gathered in the grounds of Punjab House and chanted slogans in Sharif’s favour, after which the sacked party head took to the roof of the building and waved to his supporters. Video footage also showed the former PML-N chief addressing workers inside Punjab House.

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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