Islamabad, Oct 21 (EFE).- Pakistan’s former prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, returned home from a four-year self-imposed exile on Saturday, extending an olive branch to the all-powerful military by pledging not to seek vengeance for his 2017 ouster from power and subsequent imprisonment.
A visibly triumphant Sharif addressed a large gathering of his supporters in eastern Lahore city soon after landing in Islamabad.
Sharif struck a conciliatory tone, alluding to Pakistan’s powerful military establishment, but suggested his leadership was toppled when the country was making progress.
The three-time former prime minister said despite being forcibly removed from power, incarcerated, and forced to leave the country due to what he described as unfounded charges, he harbored no desire for retribution. “I only want to serve this nation.”
Sharif refrained from naming the military establishment responsible for his ouster and imprisonment. “Today, I have spoken with patience and did not say anything which I should not have said.”
During his stay in London, Sharif had hinted at the possibility of legally acting against former army chief General Qamar Bajwa and Faiz Hameed, the ex-head of the premier intelligence agency, Inter-Services Intelligence, for their alleged roles in his removal.
The 73-year-old politician acknowledged that his wounds would take time to heal. “I don’t even want to remember, but there are some wounds that can’t ever heal.”
He said all the state institutions needed to work together for the country.
He outlined a vision for economic revival, which includes reducing government expenditure, enhancing state-owned institutions, boosting exports, implementing revolutionary agricultural reforms, and positioning Pakistan as an IT powerhouse.
He hinted at improving ties with neighboring countries should he be elected as the prime minister in the upcoming general elections scheduled for January.
“We can’t progress while fighting with our neighbors. We have to build relations with our neighbors and the world,” Sharif asserted.
Holding a Palestinian flag, Sharif made an impassioned plea to the international community to secure the rights of Palestinians to a free state, condemning Israeli actions in Gaza as a crime against humanity.
Emotions ran high as Sharif’s daughter, Maryam Nawaz, considered his political heir, embraced him with teary eyes upon his arrival at the rally in the historic Minar-e-Pakistan ground.
Hundreds of vehicles carrying Pakistan Muslim League-N supporters from across the country converged on the venue throughout the day.
Earlier in the day, Sharif landed at Islamabad International Airport from Dubai on a chartered FlyDubai flight. EFE