|‘Et tu, Brute’: Nawaz believes Zardari talking against him to ‘please someone’|
Ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Friday came down hard on Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari, saying the former president was giving statements against him to “please someone”, as he denied seeking a “NRO deal” with any institution, Pakistan Today reported.
Nawaz said this during an informal interaction with the media after an accountability court adjourned the hearing against the former premier, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Captain (r) Muhammad Safdar till Nov 7, after an order passed by the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday regarding the clubbing of three references against the Sharif family could not be obtained by the court in time.
Talking to reporters at the Federal Judicial Complex, Nawaz said the previous NROs [National Reconciliation Ordinance] were undertaken between the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and former military dictator General Pervez Musharraf.
Nawaz said he has been hearing of a ‘technocrat setup’ for 70 years, adding that “it can be someone’s wish but it is not going to happen”.
In response to a question regarding the conflict between state institutions, Nawaz again questioned whether it was only PML-N that was getting into conflicts. “We are being dragged into a conflict,” he added.
‘TIME FOR OPEN TRIALS’:
The PML-N chief went on to say that the party will always support an independent judiciary, but it will not throw its weight behind a judiciary that supports dictators. “All democratic parties should unite on one platform,” Nawaz stated.
The former prime minister was asked how he felt after being tried by the judiciary for which he fought a decade ago after Gen Musharraf imposed an emergency, ironically on November 3. In response, Nawaz only smiled.
Nawaz said he supported IHC Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui’s plea to the Supreme Judicial Council to conduct his open trial on alleged wrongdoings, saying “the time has come for open trials [for everyone] now”.
The ousted PM complained that hundreds of cases were being investigated by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) but he was being treated with bias.
“There are hundreds of cases being heard but is there any super judge overseeing them,” he asked.
On August 1, 2017, in line with the top court’s verdict, Chief Justice of Pakistan Saqib Nisar appointed Supreme Court Justice Ijazul Ahsan to oversee the proceedings of the NAB references to be filed against the Sharif family and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar.
“Contempt of court is being committed from both inside and outside the court”, said the former premier without elaborating further. Instead, he asked why he was being tried in the first place.
“What is this corruption case? Or have we received any kickbacks? Why are we facing trial?” he questioned.
He further said that he had gone through the reference and it only had details of the Sharif family business. “We had a thriving business even before we joined politics,” Nawaz stressed.
Dismissing rumors of a conflict between him and his brother, Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif, the former premier said that the people conspiring against the family will soon be unveiled.
It was the first time Nawaz, Maryam and Safdar were present in court together. The disqualified PM arrived in Islamabad from London on Thursday amid VIP protocol. It was also the first trial hearing Nawaz appeared for after the three were indicted by the accountability court on Oct 19.
As the hearing began, Nawaz’s lawyer Khawaja Harris filed a fresh application for the clubbing of the three accountability references naming the former PM.
Harris had approached the IHC on Thursday requesting the clubbing together of the references. The IHC had accepted the petition and requested the accountability court to provide a long order explaining the legal reasons behind its decision not to club the three references together.
During Friday’s hearing, the accountability court judge said that he would have to review the IHC’s orders before he provided a detailed response on the matter.
However, half an hour after proceedings began, the court had still not received the IHC’s order and subsequently decided to adjourn the hearing until Nov 7.
The Sharif family is facing trial in connection with NAB references pertaining to the Avenfield flats, the Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Hill Metal Establishment.
The three accused pleaded not guilty to the charges. Hassan and Hussain Nawaz were named co-accused in the charge sheet in the references.