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Nawaz lashes out at Imran, ex-CJP Nisar in his first address as PML-N president

The PML-N Quaid-who has been elected unopposed again as president of the party seeks leaders and workers support for re-organization of the party

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Lahore: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Quaid Muhammad Nawaz Sharif declared that his return nullified the lifetime disqualification verdict rendered by former Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar.

“Let the workers celebrate today, Ahsan Iqbal. But I want to ask Saqib Nisar who removed him. The workers are happy today because they have brought me back. Celebrate not just my victory and return, but the fact that Saqib Nisar’s decision has been thrown into the dust-bin," said Nawaz Sharif while delivering his first speech as president of the PML-N, after six-year long hiatuts, during the general council meeting in Lahore on Tuesday.

Nawaz Sharif strongly criticized former judges for their decisions. "I'm standing here," said Sharif. "Celebrate not just my return but also the overturning of Saqib Nisar’s decision. Call them today. Nawaz is back. Why did you make that decision? The decision was about why Nawaz Sharif did not take salary salary from his own son. I never asked your son for the salary," he continued.

He welcomed party leaders and workers, expressing pride in their unwavering support for PML-N. "I'm proud of you all," Sharif said, congratulating them and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. He praised Shehbaz Sharif for standing tall and emerging victorious during challenges, despite attempts to create rifts between them. "Shehbaz Sharif went to jail for this bond but he did not betray me," said Nawaz, hoping the bond remains strong.

Nawaz also commended Maryam Nawaz for her struggle and courage, mentioning her arrest. He praised Hamza Shahbaz for his resilience and highlighted the contributions of other party leaders like Khawaja Saad Rafique, Rana Sanaullah, Hanif Abbasi, Ishaq Dar, Ahsan Iqbal, Khawaja Asif, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Khawaja Salman, Nihal Hashmi, Ahad Cheema, Yousaf Abbas Sharif, Hafiz Numan, Kamran Michael, Fawad Hassan Fawad, and Miftah Ismail.

Reflecting on his political journey since 1985, Nawaz Sharif emphasized the PML-N’s role in pulling the country out of crises. He lamented that had his government not been removed, Pakistan would have been a stronger power. "The tug of war since 1947 is unfortunate," he said. Sharif recounted achievements like ending load-shedding, fighting terrorism, restoring peace in Karachi, building motorways, and launching CPEC.

He criticized Imran Khan, alleging that all cases against him are valid and accusing him of undermining the government through sit-ins planned abroad. Nawaz accused PTI of being a product of a third force and questioned Imran Khan’s integrity.

Nawaz Sharif highlighted Pakistan's nuclear tests as a major achievement, rejecting offers to halt them. He urged Shehbaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz to work hard, promising better days ahead. He called on party leaders and workers to support him if elected again as party president, seeking a commitment to reorganize the party and serve the country.

 

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Xavi to step down as Barca coach at season end

Xavi Hernández will leave his role as Barcelona coach after Sunday's final game of the season

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Xavi Hernández will leave his role as Barcelona coach after Sunday's final game of the season, the club said in a statement Friday.

A source told ESPN that former Bayern Munich and Germany coach Hansi Flick is "on course" to replace him.

- Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, more (U.S.)

Barcelona president Joan Laporta met with Xavi after Friday's training session to confirm the club's decision on a change of direction.

The move comes just one month after Xavi and Laporta announced in a joint news conference that the Catalan coach would fulfil his contract, which runs until 2025, despite having previously planned to step down this summer.

"Barcelona president Joan Laporta has communicated to Xavi Hernández that he will not continue as coach for the 2024-25 season," Barcelona said in a statement.

"The meeting took place at the training ground in the presence of vice president Rafa Yuste, sporting directors Deco and Xavi's assistants, Óscar Hernández and Sergio Alegre.

"Barcelona want to thank Xavi for his work as coach, which adds to his unmatchable career as a player and the captain of the first team, and wish him all the best in the future.

"Xavi will take charge of Sunday's game against Sevilla in what will be his final match as coach.

"In the coming days, Barcelona will reveal the new coaching structure for the first team staff."

Flick, 59, has been out of work since leaving the Germany job in 2023 but has impressed the Barça hierarchy in talks, with ESPN reporting this week he had emerged as the leading candidate to replace Xavi.

Barça B team coach Rafa Márquez and outgoing Bayern Munich boss Thomas Tuchel were also considered, but a source said negotiations with Flick's camp were now advanced.

Xavi announced in January he would step down at the end of the season, although he performed a U-turn in April, revealing he would stay and fulfil his contract. That decision was reached after a meeting with Laporta, but the Barça president has since changed his mind and decided to seek a change of direction.

Laporta was annoyed by remarks made by Xavi last week about the financial difficulties facing the club in the transfer market, although sources added the president has never been fully convinced by the former Spain international.

Sources repeatedly told ESPN this week that Xavi and his staff had not received any official information about his future, although they had suspected for a while that they were living out their last days at Barça.

It remains to be seen how Xavi will part ways with the club. He was previously willing to forgo the final year of his contract, but given the change in circumstances, sources have neither confirmed nor denied whether he will ask to be paid for the remaining year of his contract.

Xavi, who made over 700 appearances for Barça as a player, took over in 2021 and last season led the Blaugrana to a first LaLiga title since 2019.

"It is never easy to leave the club of your life, but I am very proud after two and a half years at the head of a dressing room that has been like a second family," Xavi said in a post on social media.

"From Sunday I will be another fan in the stands... Because before being a player or a coach I am a Barcelona fan and I only want the best for the club in my life, which will always have me at its disposal.

"This season things have not gone our way, but we have let it go and helped to grow a new generation of young footballers from La Masia who inspire all Barcelona fans... I wish the best for the club that I hold dear to my heart."

Meanwhile, Flick has long been admired by Laporta. In May 2021, ESPN revealed that Barça contacted Flick's camp to find out his availability but the then-Bayern coach had already committed to the Germany national team and the club therefore decided to keep Ronald Koeman.

The situation is different this time, with Flick out of work since being sacked by Germany in September 2023. Before managing Germany, Flick led Bayern to a Treble in 2020, beating Barça 8-2 en route to winning the Champions League.

A large part of his coaching career was previously spent working as assistant to Joachim Löw with the German national team, a role he held when Germany won the World Cup in 2014.
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Follow live: On home ice, Stars look to level series vs. Oilers

Live coverage of the Edmonton Oilers vs. Dallas Stars NHL game on ESPN, including live score, highlights and updated stats.

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How the Florida Panthers became the NHL's playoff bad boys Frustrating, free-flowing and full of finesse. Florida is incapable of being rattled and is often the team instigating the extracurriculars. Stars visit the Oilers with 2-1 series lead Dallas Stars (52-21-9, first in the Central Division) vs. Edmonton Oilers (49-27-6, second in the Pacific Division) Spirited Stars fight back to take a 2-1 series lead Jason Robertson's hat trick steers the Dallas Stars to a 5-3 win at the Edmonton Oilers as Dallas takes a 2-1 lead in the series.
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