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Ousted PM asks Pakistani courts to go after 'dictators'

OUSTED PM ASKS PAKISTANI COURTS TO GO AFTER DICTATORS

The recently-ousted Premier, Nawaz Sharif, on Saturday called for courts in the country to hold dictators accountable and not just go after politicians like him.

The Supreme Court disqualified Sharif from holding the high office on July 28 in its verdict in the Panama Papers case.

Speaking to hundreds of Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) supporters and workers gathered near Bara Kaho, a town near Islamabad city, after his arrival from Murree town, Sharif predicted his party would make a comeback with a overwhelming majority in the 2018 election despite the court verdict that also bars him from holding office.

"Those who tried to push Pakistan back into crises and stop development in the country have failed in their conspiracy," he said, adding that nobody could stop Pakistan from becoming a regional power.

He said the apex court had not disqualified him on corruption charges despite the fact that investigators thoroughly checked his family's decades-long business records.

The judges had sent Sharif packing from the Prime Minister's House after considering the report of a six-member investigation team, which was formed in April to look into the Panama Papers scandal.

Investigators, including members of the country's two top spy agencies -- the Inter-Services Intelligence and the Military Intelligence -- had questioned Sharif's children, his son-in-law, Shehbaz Sharif, as well as two close aides.

In its verdict, the Supreme Court ruled the prime minister had not fulfilled Articles 62 and 63 of the constitution, which say any public office holder should be Sadiq (truthful) and Ameen (trustworthy). It also said Sharif had not allegedly declared a salary from a U.A.E.-based company in his declaration of assets.

"I have strong reservation on the court verdict; how can I mention the salary in my assets that I had not received? But despite everything I obeyed the verdict and stepped down," he said.

He also said that military dictators had always damaged Pakistan, but "is there any court that can hold a dictator accountable?"

Sharif also chaired a high-level meeting of his party at the Punjab House in the capital that was attended by senior PML-N officials and newly-elected federal ministers who took oath on Friday.

Lawmakers voted PML-N's Shahid Khaqan Abbasi as prime minister on Tuesday following last week's resignation of Sharif.

Sharif is expected to leave for his hometown Lahore on Wednesday, where preparations have been made to warmly welcome him.

"Thousands of people are ready to welcome their leader and tomorrow we will show the world that still Nawaz Sharif is still the leader of the nation," Talal Chaudhry, state minister for interior, told Anadolu Agency.

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