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Actions by top judiciary is worse than a martial law: Nawaz Sharif

24 April, 2018

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ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif on Monday vented out his anguish at the superior judiciary, saying the recent actions by the top judiciary indicate that a regime ‘worse than a martial law’ has been imposed across Pakistan.

“What is prevalent in the country is not democracy but the worst kind of dictatorship under [Chief Justice Mian] Saqib Nisar,” Nawaz told reporters inside the accountability court in Islamabad. “What is happening in the country is not less than a judicial martial law,” he said.

Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam arrived from London earlier on Monday to attend the accountability proceedings. The two had requested an exemption from appearance citing Kulsoom Nawaz’s deteriorating heath, however their plea was not entertained by the court.

Criticising recent judgements by the courts as ‘illogical’, Sharif said the ‘silencing’ of 220 million people of Pakistan would not be acceptable to him. “These many restrictions were not even imposed during the martial laws that we are seeing today,” he remarked.

Directing his criticism at the chief justice, Nawaz said Justice Nisar visits hospitals regularly and talks about vegetable prices, but he should also visit the home of an oppressed person whose case hasn’t been decided for 20 years. “He [CJP] should know the rates of potatoes and tomatoes, how much the public buses cost, the state of hospitals and the price of medications, but he should turn his attention to the scores of pending cases,” he said. “It is not your job to summon the chief minister and make the government stand in the line,” he added, addressing the CJP.

The former prime minister claimed that efforts were being made to convict him in the corruption references being heard by the accountability court, which he said were an attempt to ‘validate the five judges’, a reference to the five-member SC bench which had disqualified him last year in the Panama Papers case. “The reason for this is plain and simple – so that the five judges of the apex court can save face, and save themselves from embarrassment,” Nawaz alleged.

The deposed PM said that nobody has accepted judgements against him, even the petitioners, including Imran Khan, adding that prominent lawyers have termed the decision as weak. Referring to his disqualifications, the three-time prime minister asked, “How they will answer to history? Current judgments are weaker than even those of Justice Munir.”

“In my political life, I have never seen such restrictions on media and freedom of speech,” he added. Nawaz then quoted former president Idi Amin of Uganda and said, “I can guarantee freedom of speech but I cannot guarantee freedom after speech.”

“There should be no hurdles in the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement’s (PTM) rally, it’s wrong to stop them from rallying, it’s their right,” he said referring to the protest movement. Elaborating further, the ousted prime minister said there should be accountability for such actions as the country does not belong to any single person, but belongs to 220 million people.

Referring to the remarks by Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) chief Senator Sirjaul Haq about the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) voting for Sadiq Sanjrani during the Senate elections following an ‘order from the top’, Nawaz Sharif said the revelation was meaningful. He asked PTI chief Imran Khan to tell the nation about his vote for ‘arrow’ in the Senate elections. He said those who were indulging in unprincipled politics could not bring about change, adding change comes by following principles. Only PML-N and its allies transparently voted in the Senate elections, he added.

Nawaz said Imran Khan had reprimanded his members of provincial assembly for selling their votes. Imran Khan should reprimand himself as on whose orders he voted in the Senate elections. “Will Imran Khan also answer the nation about how Chaudhry Sarwar managed to get votes [in Punjab]?” he questioned.

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