Lahore: Pakistan may face another “dismemberment” like the one it witnessed in 1971 if the people’s mandate is not respected, ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif warned on Friday as he took a dig at the Supreme Court for disqualifying him.
Sharif’s outburst came a day after the Lahore High Court banned broadcast of “anti-judiciary” remarks by him and his party men. He also targeted the country’s intelligence agencies for being part of the Panama Papers investigation against him and his family members’ offshore holdings.
“This is the first time in the country’s history that representatives of intelligence agencies — Inter Service Intelligence and Military Intelligence — were made part of the Joint Investigation Agency (JIT) to investigate the case which is not related to terrorism and national security,” he said.
Speaking at a lawyers’ convention here, Sharif said the Supreme Court’s July 28 decision to disqualify him has not been accepted by the masses. “This decision will be remembered as ‘unjust verdict’ in the country’s history,” he said.
During the country’s 70-year history, all 18 Prime Ministers were sent home without completing their terms, he said. “This has to be stopped now and we must ensure respect of the ballot. If the people’s vote is not respected, I fear that Pakistan may face an eventuality like that of 1971 when it was divided into two,” he said, adding that Pakistan cannot move forward without fixing this problem.
Sharif was referring to the creation of Bangladesh in 1971 following the Liberation War against Pakistan.
“Although I have stepped down after the verdict but I have not accepted it nor the people of Pakistan. My mission is to shut down the means through which democracies are derailed and elected leaders are sent home,” he said.
Meanwhile, Sharif’s family challenged the Supreme Court’s verdict.
His sons Hussain and Hassan, daughter Maryam and son-in-law Capt. (retd) Muhammad Safdar filed a review petition in the Supreme Court through advocate Salman Akram Raja.
The petitioners challenged the probe by the six-member JIT which was tasked by the Supreme Court to probe the Panama Papers scandal.
Petitioners also objected to the decision by the Supreme Court that one its judges would supervise the proceedings of the National Accountability Bureau.
Sharif has already challenged the verdict through his counsel Khawaja Haris, who filed three review petitions against the court’s ruling.