Ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Pakistan’s 70 anniversary of Independence addressed a gathering at the mausoleum of Allama Iqbal in Lahore, promising the public cheaper housing and access to justice if his party was voted in during the next election.
Sharif lamented the invention of the Doctrine of Necessity, which he said “broke Pakistan apart”.
“We did not learn anything even when the country broke into two,” he added.
“The time to return Pakistan back to the Quaid’s path has come. We are late, but we need to decide that we will hold the vote valuable at any cost. We have to respect he law and Constitution if we must make Pakistan that of Quaid-i-Azam and Allama Iqbal’s vision.”
He asked whether the celebration of Pakistan’s independence really was a happy occasion this year.
“We would have been happy if East Pakistan was with us and progressing with us. Had we respected the sanctity of the vote, we would not have to see this day,” he claimed.
“We [the PML-N] have delivered in four years [of governance] and have not even completed five years as yet. People have seen that we have delivered, I have no doubt about this.”
“The sea of people that travelled to Lahore with us from Islamabad didn’t follow us just like that. They could see the country was progressing and its needs were being fulfilled.”
“We spoke about ending loadshedding and even producing cheap power in excess. Our next agenda was even bigger than this ─ to give people inexpensive justice. Even if we have to amend the Constitution, I am ready for it.”
“The cases against my grandfather which were initiated in his time are still being faced by his grandson, but no verdict ever comes, although all property was lost during the process,” he claimed.
“This was not the purpose of creating Pakistan, it was not created so that people don’t receive social justice.”
“The state should help the poor who do not have the money to face legal cases. A constitutional amendment is required for this, which we will do. Whenever the next government is sworn in, we will keep this at the top of our agenda.”
“This land is owned by 200 million people, not just a handful of people. If some people have homes and property, then the rest should have the same. We will provide homes to those who cannot afford them. This is a wish I have held in my heart.”
“We wish to strengthen the country economically,” he added.
“You said in 2013 that there is no electricity. Did Nawaz Sharif not give you electricity? Did he not give you gas? Did he not decrease terrorism? Watch television programmes from 2012 to see the state of Pakistan then.”
“Employment that had to be given to the people has been kicked out of the window. All the young people who accompanied our convoy [on GT Road], I could see hope in their eyes.”
“Although the federal government still comprises the PML-N, this has been a huge setback and it will not be possible to achieve what we could have,” he added.
“I feel that if the drama that has been going on for 70 years does not end, Pakistan could face another tragic accident.”
“The first item on Pakistan’s agenda should be to ensure that the sanctity of the vote is respected.”
According to former information minister, Senator Pervaiz Rasheed, Nawaz Sharif on Monday is also expected to “hold meetings with party leaders and discuss proposals, including whether to take out another procession from Lahore to Faisalabad or Multan, or Islamabad to Abbottabad or Peshawar in the second phase of the campaign”.