Nawaz takes stock as PML-N leaders gather in London.

LONDON -- Breaking his silence for the first time after his party faced a major political blow in Punjab following Parvez Elahi's victory in a vote of confidence shortly before the dissolution of the provincial assembly, PML-N supreme leader Nawaz Sharif said 'a cruel joke had been played on Pakistan... for the sake of personal gains'.

Speaking to reporters after meeting with a delegation of senior PML-N leaders from Pakistan, he said: 'We all discussed the situation in Pakistan. Pakistan will come out of this difficult situation and we will be the ones to take the country out of it.'

When asked if he held former army chief retired Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa and former spymaster Gen Faiz Hamid responsible for the state of the country, he said: 'The reality is before everyone. Now no name or face is hidden. Pakistan was used for personal gain. It was a cruel joke played on the nation.

'In my Gujranwala jalsa, I stated who was responsible and everything was out in the open. It is my responsibility to tell the nation about the wrongs committed against the people, and it is my responsibility to make things right.'

At the time, he also questioned who was responsible for the 'two governments' in the country, and went on to blame then army chief Gen Bajwa and then ISI chief Faiz Hamid as being behind everything.

His remarks came in the wake of a top-level huddle where he and his daughter, Maryam Nawaz, met with party leaders to discuss strategy as the possibility of polls in two provinces grows.

The meeting took place amidst heightened political activity back home, with the dissolution of both the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assemblies and the imminent return of Ms Nawaz to Pakistan.

PML-N leaders Rana Sanaullah, Pervaiz Rashid and Javed Latif were also present at the meeting held at Stanhope House on Thursday, where along with the ongoing political situation, Ms Nawaz's return to Pakistan and the party's election campaign prospects were discussed in the four-hour huddle.

Although it was being speculated that Mr Sanaullah - who was charged with overseeing trust vote proceedings in the Punjab Assembly - had been summoned to London to explain the party's defeat, a source privy to the discussion rubbished...

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