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All those who were part of the JIT were against us: Nawaz Sharif

18 August, 2017

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ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif has rejected the perception that he has had differences with all army chiefs, saying his government also had cordial relations with certain military leaders.

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, Nawaz said, “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.

The July 28 disqualification was not the first time that Nawaz 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. Sharif has, however, rejected the perception.

Reiterating resolve to preserve sanctity of vote, the former prime minister pleaded to avoid confrontation among state institutions terming it against the national interest. “I am not in favor of confrontation among the state institutions. It is collective responsibility of everybody to avoid such confrontation,” he said.

When asked if he was going to confront, Nawaz said, “There should not be clash of interest. All institutions should dispense duties within the ambit of constitution and parliament should monitor and ensure it. Sanctity of vote must be ensured and peoples’ mandate should not be trampled down.”

To a question, he said preventing a confrontation among state institutions was not his sole responsibility. “I am not the only one responsible for preventing a confrontation between institutions,” he said.

Nawaz 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.

The former prime minister also said that the members of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) 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.

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