Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Friday reiterated his desire for accountability of those who “ruined the country,” adding the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) wants the public to be apprised of who is responsible for the prevailing crises.
“The nation should know that those who used to cry ‘thief’ are thieves themselves, the biggest thieves,” he told a PMLN parliamentary board in Lahore, while flanked by PMLN President Shehbaz Sharif and chief organizer Maryam Nawaz. “This is our demand,” he stressed, adding winning elections and forming government was a secondary concern.
“Our demand is not to form governments after winning elections and then roaming about in big cars,” he said, noting that while the PMLN was determined to serve the country, it also wanted the people to be apprised of the truth. “Who ruined the country? Who brought the country to this point today? Why are the poor starving today? All these things are eating up the country. There should be accountability,” he said.
“We are not sitting here to get into government; we want the well-being of the country and the 250 million people living here,” he said, regretting the country was going through a tough time of its own making. “We punished the people who wanted to serve the country and brought forth those playing an evil game,” he said, in an apparent reference to ex-prime minister Imran Khan, though he did not specifically name anyone.
He lamented that a person who knew nothing about politics, economy or foreign policy but kept talking about Riyasat-e-Madina was brought into power. “But [he] didn’t know anything about Riyasat-e-Madina in the true sense,” he said, adding it was used as a political slogan.
Describing the £190 million Bahria Town case as the “biggest corruption scandal in the history of Pakistan,” he stressed there was “no doubt about it.” The case alleges that then-P.M. Khan and his wife Bushra Bibi received billions of rupees and land worth hundreds of kanals from Bahria Town in exchange for depositing the roughly Rs. 50 billion confiscated by the U.K.’s National Crime Agency into a Supreme Court account set aside for fines imposed on real estate tycoon Malik Riaz. Last week, the National Accountability Bureau filed a reference in connection with the case.
“This biggest evidence is that they waved a sealed envelope [in a cabinet meeting] and asked for signatures on it. At least show us what is inside the envelope,” he said, noting the Supreme Court had only recently ordered the funds’ transfer to the federal government. “This was a huge theft and corruption,” he said. “On the other hand, I was sent to jail for not taking salaries from my son,” he said.
Referring to a leaked audio allegedly featuring former chief justice of Pakistan Saqib Nisar, Sharif said in it the judge was heard claiming PMLN leaders must remain behind bars to ensure Khan had a clear path in the 2018 general elections. Noting he was still visiting courts today to get justice, he said the nation must be informed who had registered these “fake” cases. “Will anyone ask them why they registered these cases?” he demanded.