‘This is the beginning of a new Pakistan,’ Imran reacts to guilty verdict in Avenfield case

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“This is the beginning of a new Pakistan,” Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan declared on Friday after the accountability court in Islamabad sentenced ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam and son-in-law retired Captain Safdar to 10, seven and one year in jail, respectively.

“Nobody would take me seriously when I used to say that they [Sharifs and Zardari] have bought properties abroad,” Khan told a gathering in Swat amid songs decrying “thieves and dacoits”.

He said that the Sharifs would have been arrested much earlier if the institutions in Pakistan were functioning properly.

“I thank God today because the struggle that I began 22 years ago [has now borne fruit],” he said.

He claimed that this was the first time in the country’s history that the powerful have been held accountable.

Khan also recounted his struggle to get the Sharifs convicted since the Panama Papers first surfaced in 2016. He said the parliament failed to do anything and the matter had to be taken to the Supreme Court after PTI’s protests.

“Their misfortune was that there were also two brigadiers in the JIT [formed by the apex court],” he said, alleging that the civil institutions of the country had been paralysed by the Sharifs.

“When they [army officers] refused to be sold, the civil-military relations worsened.”

“They made changes to the Khatm-i-Nabuwwat declaration to appease the foreign lobby because they wanted it to protect them,” he alleged.

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