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LAHORE: In his back-to-back tirade, former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has once again hit hard the military establishment alleging that those who created the country were declared traitors and asked if it was treason to expose those who have formed a state above a state.

The thrice-ousted prime minister made these remarks while speaking to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) social media convention here on Sunday. Addressing the participants, Nawaz once again decried alleged rigging in the 2018 general elections and said that the votes of the people had been "stolen".

The PML-N supremo expressed displeasure that none of the elected prime ministers were able to complete their terms in Pakistan, saying Iqbal did not dream of this Pakistan. "Until now, none of the elected prime ministers have been allowed to complete their constitutional term," he said, adding that democracy is attacked and martial law is imposed after the passage of a few years.

He said the Constitution was violated over and over again and those who created the country were termed traitors, popular leaders were jailed and leaders were made out to be robbers. "Hand on your hearts and tell me is this Quaid-i-Azam's Pakistan?" he asked.

While referring to the criticism over his speeches in the past few months in which he repeatedly accused the military leadership of interfering in the government matters, the ousted premier asked his followers if it was "treason to expose those who have formed a state above a state". "Ask yourself, why did this happen to my country?"

According to Nawaz, "undemocratic forces" have started propaganda through social media that his narrative is empowering enemies of the country. "These undemocratic forces have choked freedom of expression in the country, choked the poor, and unemployment have crushed them with inflation [...] these are painful things but all they are worried about is how to stop Nawaz Sharif," he added.

"My speeches had been banned on TV channels but the world has changed now and it was no longer possible to suppress anyone's voice," he said adding that the social media is free to quite an extent despite the recently-passed social media rules.

He said it is not possible for both the military establishment and the government to "hide their lies" any longer or to suppress the voice of a "common man". While thanking the participants of the convention for honoring him and the party, Nawaz said: "The way you courageously worked, combated the army that was created in the name of fifth generation war and difficulties you endured for the rule of law - all this is a golden chapter of our struggle."

PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz while speaking on the occasion urged the participants to not succumb to any pressure, especially if the government detains or registers FIRs against them ahead of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) Lahore rally.

She said that more than 3,000 FIRs have been registered against the workers or supporters of the PDM leadership since the launching of its anti-government movements. How much the government is afraid of the opposition parties can be imagined from this figure, she added.

The PML-N vice president said that the PDM is about to make big decisions, hinting at resignations of significant personalities and a possible long march ahead of a meeting between the PDM members on December 8.

She said that prime minister Imran Khan used to claim that the green passport will be respected across the world but now flights from Pakistan have been banned. "Is there anyone who can ask him what became of the claims he made?" Maryam asked.

Speaking about the increasing shortfall of Sui gas and the delay in the procurement of LNG, the PML-N vice president said that strongly criticise the government's apathy and said that PM Imran's friends, who runs his kitchen, took benefit of the situation.

"People hardly have any supply of gas at their homes, but they are getting unbelievably high bills," she said and alleged that the public exchequer has suffered an estimated loss of Rs 122 billion due to government's apathy towards this issue.

According to Maryam, Pakistan's GDP has turned negative, hundreds of thousands of people have lost their jobs, prices of medicines have increased manifold, European countries have banned Pakistani flights and the people were cheated in the sugar and wheat flour crisis. "No one is bothering just because he (PM Imran) is actually Tabedaar Khan," Maryam said while giving the primer a new name instead of the old "Imran Niazi".

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020

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