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‘Neither India nor US…we shot ourselves’: Ex-Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif on country’s woes

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Pakistan’s former prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday said neither India nor the US were behind the cash-strapped country’s miseries but “we shot ourselves in our own foot”, indirectly referring to the powerful military establishment for its woes.

Former Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif (Reuters Photo)
Former Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif (Reuters Photo)

During a conversation with Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) ticket aspirants here, the party supremo, who is eying to become prime minister for a record fourth time, pointed out that he was ousted from power three times in 1993, 1999 and 2017.

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“Today where Pakistan has reached (in terms of the state of the economy) this is not done by India, the US or even Afghanistan. In fact, we shot ourselves in our own foot…they (a reference to the military) imposed a selected (government) on this nation by rigging the 2018 polls that led to the sufferings of the people and downfall of the economy,” Sharif said.

The 73-year-old leader castigated the judges for legitimising military dictators.

“The judges garland them (military dictators) and legitimise their rule when they break the Constitution. When it comes to a prime minister the judges stamp his ouster. The judges also approve the act of dissolution of the parliament…why?” he asked.

The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz supremo lashed out at former ISI chief Gen Faiz Hamid for his role in ousting him from power in 2017. “A case has been opened in the Supreme Court against those (Faiz Hamid and others) who had said that if Nawaz came out of jail their two-year hard work would be wasted,” he said.

The PML-N leader, who returned to the country from London in October ending a four-year-long self-imposed exile, is the only Pakistani politician who became the prime minister of the coup-prone country for a record three times.

On Monday, Nawaz said that in 1999, “I was prime minister in the morning and in the evening I was declared a hijacker. Similarly in 2017, I was ousted from power for not taking salary from my son.”

“They (military establishment) made this decision as they wanted to bring their selected man into power,” he said, referring to his arch-rival Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) supremo Imran Khan.

In a televised address to the nation on Thursday last, the three-time former prime minister blamed the military establishment of 2014-17 for forcing senior judges to remove him from power.

“They (a reference to the military establishment) visited the residences of senior judges and threatened them. They achieved the required court verdicts against me through coercion,” he said.

Last week, Sharif was acquitted in the Al-Azizia Steel mill corruption case. He has already been acquitted in the Avenfield graft case in which he was convicted in July 2018 and sentenced to ten years in Jail. He also got relief in the Flagship corruption case.

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