Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo and three-time premier Nawaz Sharif has expressed the hope for taking the office for the fourth time following the general elections next year.
In a pre-recorded interview aired on Sunday night, Nawaz shared his personal thoughts with the nation as he sat alongside his daughter and party Vice President Maryam Nawaz who is in London to meet her father after three years.
He was asked if he would run for the prime minister’s office a fourth time. The former premier laughed and said Inshallah (God willing).
There are speculations that a change is on the cards as steps are being taken to allow the elder Sharif to return to the country as his younger brother Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif holds on to power.
Last month, the ruling party already speculated about his return and there are rumours that his cases will also be taken care of systematically.
The PML-N leader claimed that he had said “absolutely not” when he was offered $5 billion “in a plate” as he questioned rival party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) claim on the stance.
“On what grounds does Imran say absolutely not? We were the ones who said absolutely not,” said Nawaz claiming that he had rejected an offer for $5 billion in an apparent deal.
“I said Pakistan has its own dignity and we would not compromise on that,” he added without mentioning details about the said deal.
Nawaz also expressed his gratitude to Allah that his daughter was sitting next to him, but also reminisced on the “way we were treated the moment we landed in Pakistan”.
Praising Maryam for having “stood by her father like a brave daughter,” Nawaz said his brother PM Shehbaz “publicly appreciated her a lot” and that the party was “all praises for her”.
The ex-PM also revealed that when he was incarcerated the circumstances weighed particularly heavily on his mother.
“Whenever she would visit me at the Pindi jail,” he said, she would refuse to leave without him and insist she be put in the jail cell with her son.
“Shehbaz Sahib has always held this against me,” he added, that their mother loved him more.
He also recalled how he was sitting beside his mother as she breathed her last.
Furthermore, he shared the experience of losing his wife while he and his daughter were in jail and were not permitted to speak to her one last time.
The PML-N supremo alleged that all the pain that he and his family were put through was out of “vengeance”.
“In this process of taking revenge against me, you [Imran] have destroyed Pakistan,” said Nawaz as he noted how “everything became more expensive during Imran Khan’s tenure.”
“If you [Imran] wanted to take revenge against me, that’s fine, by all means,” he asked, “but who had asked you to take revenge from Pakistan?”
During his tenure, Nawaz claimed “people were happy and content” as he blamed Imran Khan’s government for causing the country’s economic crisis.
Nawaz lamented that suo moto notices were taken of many issues and questioned who would correct “injustice done to him for five years.
“Who doesn’t know that these were fake and fabricated cases with no weight or evidence?” the PML-N chief questioned.
He alleged that he was punished and disqualified for life to keep him away from elections and yet, today, lifetime disqualification was being criticised as “draconian.”
“So where is the rectification for [what happened with me],” Nawaz asked, adding that such matters should be brought before the nation.
On the Supreme Court disqualifying him as the prime minister in the Panama Papers case, Nawaz questioned whether there was a “valid reason” for the decision. “Disqualified for life and removed from the PML-N presidency. This is revenge, not a court’s decision,” he added.
Nawaz was sentenced in 2018, to a total of 11 years of imprisonment and was fined Rs1.3 billion in Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Avenfield references.
His sentence was suspended in 2019 by the Lahore High Court on medical grounds and he was permitted to fly to London to seek treatment, after which he did not return.