Did not have differences with all army chiefs, says Nawaz
Did not have differences with all army chiefs, says Nawaz: Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has rejected the perception that he has had differences with all army chiefs, saying his government has also had cordial relations with certain military leaders.
Sharif said this in an interview with the BBC on Thursday — his first detailed interview with foreign news media after the Supreme Court disqualified him as prime minister on July 28 in the Panama Papers case.
The July 28 disqualification was not the first time that Sharif was ousted from power. Former Army Chief Pervez Musharraf toppled his government in a bloodless coup in 1999, following which the PML-N leader was jailed and later allowed to leave the country and go into exile.
Successive dismissals of PML-N government have fueled the perception that Sharif does not have a good working relationship with the country’s judiciary and armed forces.
But Sharif rejected that perception in his interview with the BBC on Thursday.
“I have had a cordial relationship with Army generals. I have never deviated from the Constitution and strongly believe in the rule of law,” he said.
The former prime minister added that during the 1999 coup against his government, Musharraf and some other generals were against him.
“The rest of the army was not even aware that there had been a coup and a large number of army men were not happy with the coup,” said the former premier.
Sharif claimed that the objective of Imran Khan-led PTI was to oust him from power and they had pursued the idea for years.
The former premier further said that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was affected due to the months-long sit-ins “but in spite of that, the country progressed”.
“The sit-in lasted for around four months, tell me what it was for?”
“From day one, their objective was to oust me from power, especially the PTI,” claimed Sharif.
He added that once the sit-ins failed, his opponents went to the Supreme Court and petitioned against him which was at first dismissed and termed as ‘frivolous’, but was later accepted by the apex court.
The former prime minister also said that the members of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT), formed to probe the Sharif family over the Panama Papers scandal, were known to be against him and his family.
“All those who were part of the JIT were against us, but we still presented ourselves for accountability,” said Sharif.
He added that he would have been ashamed if he was investigated over corruption cases but the investigations focused on his family business.
Referring to his disqualification, the former prime minister reiterated that the sanctity of the vote was “torn apart”.
“This is not how nations are built. It is a joke with the nation but at least we have now identified the root of the problem,” said the PML-N leader.
“We did not respect the sanctity of the vote. Had we learned our lessons, there would not have been four martial laws in the country,” said Sharif.
Earlier in August, Sharif led a defiant crowd of supporters from Islamabad to his hometown of Lahore, in a four-day procession that brought thousands onto the streets in a show of force.
During the trip Sharif repeatedly lambasted his disqualification, saying the decision was an “insult” to Pakistanis and their vote.
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