PML-N says Nawaz is a candidate to become prime minister for fourth term in February 8 general elections

In his maiden televised ‘address to the nation’ after ending four years of exile, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif expressed confidence that the people will back his party in the upcoming general elections after he secured major victories from courts.

“I am hopeful that you [nation] will announce your judgments on February 8, [2024] and end the punishments meted out to you,” the former three-time prime minister said in a recorded message, aired live on television channels Thursday.

Nawaz has time and again — since he returned to Pakistan in October after a four-year self-exile in London — reiterated the call for holding those accountable who were behind his government’s ouster in 2017, claiming they not only punished him and his family, but Pakistan as well.

 

 

“My people, you don’t need to reach out to any court as you yourself are the judge,” the former premier said as he addressed his supporters for the first time since his legal victory in the form of exoneration from major corruption cases against him.

The three-time prime minister is eyeing a fourth stint in power after winning graft appeals that came as a boost for his bid to become the next prime minister of the country.

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) overturned Nawaz’s convictions in the Al Azizia Steel Mills corruption case and Avenfield case in separate rulings, which came earlier this week and last month, respectively.

The latest relief from the high court on Tuesday, removed one of the last major hurdles for Nawaz to qualify to contest national elections.

He now needs the removal of a life ban on holding any public office to qualify to stand in the elections, scheduled for February 8, 2024.

‘Shameful games’

Nawaz lamented that he had “never” inherited “good conditions” from his predecessors and that he was always dragged into courts after his governments ended.

But he was thankful that the courts cleared his name this time. “This isn’t just my victory, it’s a victory for all of us. You kept standing by me and my party through these testing times,” Nawaz told his supporters.

The three-time prime minister reminded his workers that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had started a witch hunt against him on the directions of a former Supreme Court judge.

“Those involved in these shameful games [overthrowing PML-N regimes] have been exposed now. We are witnessing testimonies coming forth from those quarters from where we never thought of,” he said.

“I was called Sicilian Mafia, God Father, and a lot of other derogatory words [by judges]. But I left all my troubles up to Allah,” he smiled.

The PML-N elder lamented that he had to stay in jail for a “long time”, endure “abuse”, and also face “character assassination”.

“I could not carry my father’s coffin. I could not bury my mother. I could not spend the last moments with my dying wife,” Nawaz lamented, but vowed that he would not back down from the tough conditions ahead.

 

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