Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has started threatening the establishment and the judiciary with slogans of “revolution” to protect the sanctity of votes after his disqualification. He is confronting national institutions and instigating people to rise up against them and it appears he will not sink alone, but take his political party with him.
He started his counterattack on the judiciary and the establishment in his GT Road rally. He could have chosen the motorway to avoid security threats, but it would not have served his purpose to attract people. Few hundreds of people accompanied him from Rawalpindi. He attracted a few thousands in Gujrat, Gujranwala and Lahore, which was impressive as compared to the start in Rawalpindi, where he had to admonish local leaders for failing to bring people to his rally despite his stay for two days.
The four-day rally cost the nation billions of rupees. Federal and provincial ministers, legislators and office-bearers of the ruling party attended the rally with official vehicles and drivers. The Punjab government used all possible resources to make it a success. Commissioners, deputy commissioners, assistant commissioners and police officers were assigned duties to transport people to the show and then bring them back. Every minister had three vehicles with him. Even stages were set up at the cost of public money and high-ranking police and civil officers were tasked with bringing the maximum number of people to the rally. Many were castigated by high-ups for not bringing the required number of people. All government departments came to a grinding halt as officers performed rally-related duties. The former prime minister enjoyed the protocol of a prime minister till he reached his Raiwind Road residence.
In his speeches on the way, he savaged the establishment and the judiciary for “conspiracies” against elected prime ministers. “None of the 18 prime ministers in the country’s history has ever completed the constitutional term in office and just three dictators ruled the country for over three decades. The Constitution was abrogated again and again, but the judiciary not only legitimized the military rule every time, but even allowed the military dictators the right to amend the Constitution at their will. Countries cannot be run like this. It is time for a grand debate, both inside and outside the parliament, to find a way forward,” he said in Rawalpindi.
Addressing his workers in Gujrat, he mentioned his services for the country and claimed to have provided jobs to millions of people, eradicated power outages and improved the economy. “Everyone would have become employed if I had stayed. Even the judges admitted that Nawaz Sharif has not committed corruption. Your votes were torn up. Millions of people elected me as prime minister and a few people disqualified me. The joke has been repeated for the past 70 years,” he said and told the crowd he would not keep silent on his disqualification. The people roared a “no” when he asked whether he should sit silently in his home after the decision. In Gujranwala, he told a charged crowd, “They had been conspiring against Nawaz Sharif for more than three years. They disqualified an elected leader on the charge he had not receive salary from his son. You have to seek justice for Nawaz Sharif. You have to seek justice for yourself. Is my disqualification not an insult to your vote? Nawaz Sharif won’t rest and he won’t let you rest until we succeed in this fight for Pakistan’s future. Only five judges with a single stroke of the pen disgraced the vote of millions. It is a disgrace to the people. It is a big insult to a democratically elected prime minister and the sacred ballot.”
In Lahore, he asked his supporters whether they had accepted his disqualification. “Nobody has accepted the verdict. I will not sit in peace and accept it, and neither will you. Do you promise me?” he asked, receiving a resounding “yes!” in response. ”You made me a prime minister and five people disqualified me. Is their verdict acceptable to you? Are those who disqualified Nawaz Sharif themselves qualified for it?” In the end, he announced bringing about a revolution. “The passion and spirit I’m seeing is a harbinger of a revolution. If the revolution does not arrive, nothing will change. If the revolution does not happen, we will become the worst nation in the region.”
Threatening the establishment, he said, “No country has experienced upheavals in its democratic process like us. Who are these people who have disrupted our progress? Do you not think that they should be held responsible? They played with Pakistan’s fate for the last 70 years — don’t you all think that they should be held accountable? You will have to take a brave stand against these people.” He also warned the powers-that-be of a Bangladesh-like tragedy after his disqualification.
The disgraced prime minister has become a revolutionary after being a conspirator throughout his political career. He conspired against at least four prime ministers, including Muhammad Khan Junejo, Benazir Bhutto (twice) and Yusuf Raza Gilani. He came to power thrice through rigged elections. He was the inventor of Changa Manga politics, and he never bothered about the sanctity of the vote. He granted billions of rupees to lawmakers of his party in the name of development schemes in his recent term but ignored legislators from opposition parties, who have also reached the National Assembly through votes.
In fact, the former prime minister is running a campaign to instigate people against national institutions, which will not succeed. His only aim was to force the Supreme Court of Pakistan to take suo moto notice of his disqualification and form a full-court bench to hear his case, as Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan had compelled the court to take up the Panama case through his protest movement. He believed the full-court could have provided some relief to him. Even if few judges had ruled in his favour, he could have reached the public with his head high. However, he filed a review petition in the court after failure. The main target of the petition is to remove the judge, who is overseeing corruption cases against him and his family in the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and accountability courts. He wants to see a “free” and old NAB, which has always exonerated him.
Another objective of his movement was to put pressure on the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to delay or file weak references against him and his family, so that the accountability courts exonerate them. However, his plan has failed and the cases will reach the accountability courts in weeks. If he continues with his speeches against the national institutions, his live coverage will be banned. It appears he has hit the dead-end of his political life.