LONDON: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif Wednesday said that he was returning to the country leaving his wife Kulsoom in Allah’s protection.
Speaking at a news conference, the former premier said that he wished to see his wife opening her eyes again, requesting the nation to pray for her recovery.
He said that he was returning “despite seeing a prison cell in front of him.”
“I am returning to fulfill the promise of giving respect to vote,” Nawaz said, adding that he would not abandon his nation.
He said that he would not stop now whether he was taken to prison or gallows.
Speaking of the Avenfield reference verdict, the former premier noted that it was written in the verdict that Nawaz had been absolved of corruption charges.
“It had to be written in the verdict that no evidence of corruption could be found against me,” he said.
“Is there any Pakistani whose three generations had to face such sort of accountability?”
Nawaz said the people of Pakistan once again saw the “real face” of justice. “Having searched in several countries of the world, it had to be written that there was no evidence of corruption [against me].”
He maintained that he respected every institution of Pakistan, noting that he made the country a nuclear-capable state.
“I have immense respect for ‘Ghazis’ and ‘Shuhada’ of Pakistani forces in my heart,” the former premier said. “The martyrs sacrificed their today for our tomorrow.”
He said that they greatly loved these ‘Ghazis’ and ‘Shuhada’, and they could sacrifice everything for these sons of the soil.
Nawaz, however, said that he had set out bearing the flag of “give respect to vote.”
“I’m coming to pay off the debt of the nation that thrice elected me the prime minister,” he said.
The former premier said that if they had to stay alive and progress, then all this had to be changed. “Not only all this needs to be changed, but should be changed soon for we do not have much time.”
He said that they were getting this chance for a change after two weeks, adding that the forthcoming election would decide their fate.
“Every Pakistani will have to hold his vote in hand and think,” Nawaz said, adding that he would address the people at Lahore airport on July 13.
He urged the masses to also set out of the homes on July 25 and announce such a verdict making the world pay a tribute to them.
“My daughter Maryam is also going to prison with me,” the former premier said, adding that he was ready to face any difficulty or hardship for the sake of country.
“Brave masses should set out of their homes like lions; Shehbaz will lead the crowd to [Lahore] airport,” he said.
“The dictator, who imprisoned judges, is roaming free, and no one has the courage to bring him and put on a trial,” Nawaz criticised.
He said that disrespect of vote had made a mockery of the country. “Herding the masses like a pack of cattle is unacceptable.”
The former premier said that July 25 election was going to be the biggest referendum.
“How did the petition, which was discarded after being labelled as useless, become sacred,” he questioned.
“What action was taken against Wajid Zia, who issued a tender worth several millions to relatives in the name of investigations?”
Nawaz is currently in London to tend to his ailing wife. He is expected to return to the country on July 13, after he was sentenced to 11 years in prison by an accountability court in Avenfield properties reference against the Sharif family.
Last week, the former premier was sentenced to a total of 11 years in prison and slapped a £8 million fine (Rs1.3 billion) in the Avenfield properties reference, while his daughter Maryam was sentenced to eight years with a £2 million fine (Rs335 million).
Additionally, Nawaz’s son-in-law Capt (retd) Safdar has been given a one year sentence without any fine.