PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif said on Saturday that he exercised restraint in his first address to supporters of the party in six years, ending skepticism about his narrative after returning home.
“I have not said any such thing which I think I should not have said so I think,” he said at the Minar-e-Pakistan rally in Lahore.
Nawaz ended his self-imposed exile of four years on Saturday. On arrival in Islamabad, he was accompanied by Irfan Siddiqui and personal physician Dr. Adnan, besides a large number of journalists and league leaders. He signed the petitions to revive the appeals in the Avenfield and Al-Azizia references.
Then he was off to Lahore to attend the party’s “power show”. He was welcomed on the stage by an emotional Maryam Nawaz, his daughter, and Shehbaz Sharif along with party leaders. The three-time former prime minister embraced teary Maryam and his brother.
His brother and party president Shehbaz Sharif teared up while welcoming his brother at the Lahore airport.
— PMLN (@pmln_org) October 21, 2023
‘No wish for revenge’
Before his address, Nawaz held a dove to show a sign of peace. He refrained from taking his rival PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s name but took a jibe at him by making veiled comments.
But he clarified that he was not up for “revenge” after seeing the “love of his supporters”.
The PML-N supremo urged the institutions, political parties, and pillars of the state to work together for the development of the country.
“Seeing the issues of Pakistan, I think there should be no negligence and we should make a future plan. Our constitutional institutions, parties, and pillars of state will have to work together with the nation,” he said.
He went on to add that his mother and wife became victims due to his politics as he was not able to bury them due to his incarceration.
Today, The Greater Iqbal Park looked like mini Pakistan, with people from Balochistan, Sindh, KP, GB, AJK, and Punjab. Thank you all for coming to greet Mian Nawaz Sharif. Pakistan Zindabad! 🇵🇰 pic.twitter.com/8xJhV9mlhC
— Shehbaz Sharif (@CMShehbaz) October 21, 2023
“I got to know about the condition of my wife when I was in jail. I was told that she was in the ICU. I told the jail superintendent to let me speak to my wife and my son. I wanted to ask them how they were. But I was not given an opportunity to speak to my family on the phone,” he said while sharing his ordeal when he was in Adiala Jail.
“Whenever I came home from outside, my mother and wife would be waiting for me at the door. They will not be there when I go back home today. I lost them due to politics. This is a scar that cannot be forgotten. My father and mother died and I was not able to lay them to rest,” he lamented.
While recalling his ordeals, the three-time prime minister said that he kept all the sorrows and pains aside and was not seeking revenge.
“I want people to have a livelihood and they become respected citizens. I pray that never a desire for vengeance comes in my heart,” he added.
“After so many years I am meeting with you [crowd]. We are meeting after so many years but my ties with you have always been the same there. It has never changed. Neither I, nor you ever betrayed me,” Nawaz added.
He recalled his past tenures and claimed that his government ended load-shedding in the country and put brakes on inflation.
“We have to decide how are we going to achieve our lost glory. The only solution to that is if we work together and through the implementation of the Constitution.”
He also outlined the future plan for the country, saying that the nation would have to break the begging bowl forever and stand on its feet.
‘Good ties with all neighbours’
“We have to build ties with the world and neigbhours. We cannot fight with neighbours. and can progress having good ties with the world,” he added.
In his speech, he referred to Bangladesh and said that erstwhile East Pakistan would not have been separated if Pakistan, formerly known as West Pakistan, had not “shamed them”.
“There would have been an economic corridor between East and West Pakistan which would have been supported by India. We could have developed together and now the same East Pakistan has exceeded you and you are behind,” he added.
The former PM claimed that the prices of essential commodities were brought to their low during his tenure.
“If the same momentum was carried when I became the PM for the first time in 1990 then nobody would have been left unemployed and no poverty in the country,” he added.
He went on to add that the PML-N government built motorways and brought electricity to the country despite “sit-ins and protests”.
“I have always served you. I resolved people’s issues and whenever got a chance, never backed from rendering any sacrifices,” he said, alleging that bogus cases were made against him, his brother, and his daughter.
Clinton’s ‘offer’ to shun nuclear tests
He claimed that he was offered $5 billion by former American president Bill Clinton to stop the atomic tests in 1998. “But Pakistan soil did not allow me to accept something which was against Pakistan. We carried out the blasts and gave a response to India’s nuclear tests.”
Before him, Shehbaz alleged that his elder brother was removed from power whenever he tried to earn a good name for the country.
“He [Sharif] has spent time in jail, endured self-exile but never left patience,” he added.
The PML-N president heaped praise on the former prime minister, saying that Nawaz had ended load-shedding in four years and rejected the $5 billion offered to him to abandon the country’s nuclear programme.