London: Embattled former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has criticised the election commission's decision to deploy soldiers inside polling stations, saying his party would oppose the efforts being made to "engineer" the outcome of the 25 July general elections. Speaking to journalists in the British capital where his wife Kulsoom is undergoing treatment for throat cancer, Sharif said he and his daughter Maryam would return to Pakistan on Friday after being sentenced in a corruption case last week.
The 68-year-old three-time prime minister said, "The nation will not accept these things; the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz won't accept these things at any cost," he said on Tuesday. Sharif, who was disqualified by the Supreme Court last year in the Panama Papers case, is now the supremo of the PML-N.
He questioned Pakistan election commission's decision to deploy soldiers inside the polling stations. "I don't understand the logic of sending [the troops] inside the polling booths," he said. Sharif's relations with the powerful military has deteriorated since his ouster.
The military, which enjoys considerable influence over policy decisions in Pakistan, has ruled the country for much of its life since it gained independence. He alleged that a campaign against the PML-N was on. "Our candidates were forced to change their loyalties and election symbol," he said.
Meanwhile, the spokesperson of the armed forces Major General Asif Ghafoor pledged the institution's full support for the upcoming polls and said all "forces" that wanted to postpone the elections have slowly withered away. The PML-N supremo and his daughter earlier said that they would surrender to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on their return to the country on Friday following the Avenfield verdict.
Last Friday, in a landmark verdict, the accountability court hearing the Avenfield case sentenced Sharif to 10-years imprisonment and Maryam to seven years. The Avenfield case was among the three corruption cases filed against the former premier and his children by the NAB on the Supreme Court's orders in the Panama Papers case.
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Updated Date: Jul 20, 2018 07:49:14 IST