- Ousted premier criticises top court for fixing verdict date in corruption trial, calls it tantamount to ‘pre-poll rigging’
ISLAMABAD: Deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday criticised the Supreme Court’s directive to fix July 10 as the date for the verdict in the corruption trial against the Sharif family, claiming that the directives are part of a deal with the ‘establishment’.
Nawaz Sharif expressed these views while responding to a journalists’ query pertaining to reaching a settlement or a deal with the ‘establishment’ outside the accountability court conducting corruption proceedings against the Sharif family.
“The court’s orders are tantamount to pre-poll rigging,” he remarked. The ousted prime minister lamented that the apex court should have heard the case if the top court is passing directives. “If they want to hang me, they should. If they want to send us to jail, they should,” said a bitter Nawaz.
“Everyone knows what ‘wrap this up in four weeks’ means. July 10 is right before the elections. If this isn’t pre-poll rigging, then what is?” questioned Nawaz. “Supreme Court is influencing the case before the general elections,” he said, adding the number of hearings and round-the-clock proceedings are unprecedented and unheard of.
“If this is a fair trial, then I have the right to choose my lawyer,” the former premier said. Nawaz said, “No one can deny me the right to choose my lawyer.”
Nawaz Sharif’s lawyer, Khawaja Haris recused himself from representing the former prime minister on Monday. Subsequently, the court gave Nawaz Sharif till June 19 to hire a new lawyer.
‘MUSHARRAF DICTATOR, NOT POLITICIAN’
Commenting on former president Gen (r) Pervez Musharraf imminent return, Nawaz reiterated that the former president is a dictator and not a politician. “He orchestrated May 12 [Karachi tragedy], imposed martial law, violated the constitution twice. But capital punishment is reserved for people like us, not him,” he quipped.
The former premier further claimed, “There are talks regarding placing my name on the Exit Control List (ECL).”
“Those who broke the backbone of terrorists are being placed on the ECL while those who brought terrorism to the country are being removed from the list,” Nawaz elaborated.
“Those who disrespected the Constitution are being welcomed,” the former premier said while taking another jibe at Musharraf.
Earlier, on Monday, NAB, for the second time requested the Ministry of Interior to place Nawaz, daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Capt (r) Safdar’s names on the ECL. Furthermore, Hasan and Hussain’s names were also asked to be placed on the ECL.
The first request by NAB was put forward on Feb 14.
Referring to the earlier remarks by the chief justice regarding Nawaz approaching the apex court for an exemption, the PML-N supremo clarified that all exemption pleas were submitted in the accountability court and not the SC. He also said that the security provided to him, a three-time prime minister, currently equals to “nothing”.
“Perhaps someone should send the references back to the five-member bench that had asked for them to be filed in the first place. Why must I go through the painful process of appearing in court for 100 hearings?” the former premier said in a jibe towards the Justice Asif Khosa-led bench that directed the country’s anti-corruption body to file the corruption references.