'Disqualified me for not receiving salary when minus-one didn't work': Nawaz addresses rally in Quetta

Ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif is addressing a rally hosted by the Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) at Quetta’s Ayub Stadium.

Addressing a rally held on the 44th death anniversary of Pakhtun ideologue, writer, journalist and nationalist leader Abdul Samad Khan Achakzai, Sharif said the ruling PML-N and PkMAP are tied in an “ideological bond”.

He said the Pashtun nationalist gave a lot of sacrifices and spent 24 years in jail for the sake of “ideology”.

Sharif said the late leader had wished to see roads in Pakistan like those in Afghanistan.

“We have implemented his vision… roads and motorways better than Afghanistan exist in Balochistan today,” the former prime minister claimed.

Speaking without the protective shield that is usually present in front of the rostrum during his addresses, Sharif said he had asked for the glass screen to be removed as it was an “obstruction”. He said his security is in the hands of Allah so he doesn’t need the protective glass.

Sharif assured PkMAP chief Mahmood Khan Achakzai of his support at every step.

PkMAP is an ally of the ruling PML-N and is part of the coalition government in Balochistan that includes PML-N and National Party.

Sharif said there had been no signs of progress in Balochistan four years ago, but the development in the province since his party came to power is “exemplary”.

Sharif said it was the PML-N’s vision that has now resulted in the network of roads and motorways being constructed that will connect Balochistan to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh, Punjab and the capital.

“You will be able to reach Islamabad from Quetta in eight hours,” he told an animated crowd.

Once again hitting out at his detractors and the judiciary, Sharif he said had been ousted not for committing corruption but for “not taking a salary from my son’s company”.

“Was Nawaz Sharif ousted because he did not stay sadiq and ameenafter not receiving salary from his son’s company?” he asked, amidst chants of “shame!”.

He said those deciding that he is no longer honest and righteous are the same people who took oath under the Provisional Constitution Order (PCO).

Referring to the members of the Supreme Court-sanctioned joint investigation team (JIT) to probe the Panamagate case, he said, “You constituted a JIT from those six perfect diamonds and the same bench gave multiple verdicts.”

“How can you remove a sitting prime minister when he did not plunder [public] money?” he asked.

“When you couldn’t find an excuse for minus-one [formula], you disqualified a prime minister for not receiving a salary from his son.”

He said no one could “minus-one” a person who has been “plus[ed]” by the public.

Sharif said PML-N and PkMAP would make Quetta a model city of Pakistan if they are given another chance in the upcoming General Election.

Hitting out at his arch-rival Imran Khan, Sharif said the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief was unable to start the metro bus in Peshawar even though it has almost been five years.

“We will start a metro bus [service] in Quetta,” he announced.

Sharif’s mass-contact campaign

Sharif and his family members are currently facing corruption references filed against them by the National Accountability Bureau in an accountability court. The former premier has struck a defiant note since kicking off his mass-contact campaign earlier this month, following the rejection of his review petitions filed against the Panama Papers judgement which ousted him in July.

Addressing a public gathering in Abbottabad earlier this month, Sharif repeatedly lashed out at the judiciary, specifically the Supreme Court bench that had disqualified him. Recounted his many achievements, he said the name ‘Nawaz Sharif’ has now become an ideology, which was synonymous with development.