- The PML-N vice president says that PTI chief Imran Khan is “no longer a stakeholder in Pakistani politics”.
- Khan had looted up to Rs50 million from the Toshakhana.
- She says it needs a criminal-minded person to spend public’s money so lavishly on jalsas without having an iota of remorse.
PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz on Tuesday “exposed” the “actual agenda” of PTI’s long march towards Islamabad and said that it has not been arranged for the sake of the nation but its purpose is to stop the incumbent government from appointing the next army chief.
Speaking during a press conference in London, the PML-N vice president said that “Khan should know that the appointment of the army chief is rightfully, constitutionally, and legally the right of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. And God willing, the process will be carried out amicably in a good environment.”
PM Shehbaz has said that Khan contacted the government last month for discussing two matters — one of them being the appointment of the army chief. However, the premier refused to discuss it with him, she said.
The extended term of Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa will come to an end on November 29 and the coalition government has time and again stressed that his successor will be appointed in due course and in line with the Constitution.
“Imran Khan’s 22-year political struggle revolves around General Musharraf, Pasha, Zaheer ul Islam, and those whom he calls his eyes and ears,” Maryam said.
‘Aimless, part-time long march’
The PML-N leader said the “part-time” long march ends within two hours after it starts, and it is stuck in Lahore despite the passage of five days. “And now, we are hearing reports that it will take eight to ten more days to reach Islamabad.”
Maryam said at this pace — when Khan leaves for the march after breakfast and leaves for Lahore for tea in the evening — his caravan would not reach Islamabad even after a month.
“These were such serious lies that DG ISI [Director-General of Inter-Services Intelligence Lieutenant General Nadeem Ahmed Anjum] had to come out and address a press conference.”
Maryam said since it was the DG ISI who even avoids taking photos, the nation should understand the seriousness of the situation.
She also sent condolences to the family of deceased journalist Sadaf Naeem — who was crushed to death in the line of duty while climbing down PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s container during the march — and said that the incident forced her to think about the purpose of PTI’s long march.
“A precious life was lost. A mother of young children passed away while covering the long march. It forced me to ponder over the purpose of the long march,” she said.
Maryam added that had the march been arranged by someone who had not been in power before, it would have made sense, but someone who ruled the country for four years need not hold such marches.
“Look at any area, be it economy, foreign relations, foreign policy, or governance, Imran Khan destroyed all of them during his tenure.”
She said that the way the PTI-led government trampled upon the economy of the country, which led to skyrocketing inflation, Khan should not even be able to utter a word anymore.
“Yet, he has taken out a rally on the streets of Pakistan,” she said. Criticising the march further, Maryam said that personnel of the Punjab Police employed to provide security to Khan greatly outnumbered the participants of the march.
“Millions of taxpayers’ money is being spent to provide security to a march which is aimless and holds no national agenda,” she said, adding that it certainly needs a criminal-minded person to spend the public’s money so lavishly without having an iota of remorse.
She further said that the narrative of a conspiracy that Khan built following his ouster has been exposed.
“One after the other, his lies started unfolding before the nation which is why the masses are largely indifferent to this long march,” she said.
The PML-N vice president added that this long march was the PTI’s last plan. “Prior to that, they continued building the narrative of a foreign conspiracy to mount pressure on the government and spewed many lies.
Maryam added that since Khan failed to dissolve the incumbent government and couldn’t ask for a date for the election, he resorted to this aimless long march.
‘Biggest opponent Nawaz is yet to step onto electoral field’
The PML-N vice president further censured Khan for bragging about winning the byelections and said that “he wins from constituencies which he himself vacates and then sings his own praise of winning the elections.”
She dared Khan and said that he should wait for his biggest opponent — PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif — who has “not yet been given a level-playing field”.
“Khan’s actual level will be exposed on the day Nawaz will get a chance to step onto the electoral field,” she maintained, adding that the PML-N supremo will “Insha Allah return after ridding himself of all the baseless allegations Khan levelled against him.”
“And that day is not far away, because [when my case was being heard in the court] the judges clearly said that none of the allegations against Nawaz Sharif has been proven on the basis of which Maryam was convicted.”
‘Another big scandal to be exposed soon’
Maryam then questioned Khan about his anti-establishment rhetoric and asked: “Even if we assume that the establishment had told you that the government leaders are thieves, did they tell you to ask for a 5-carat diamond ring? Was it the establishment that told you to steal items from the Toshakhana and secretly sell them? Did they tell you not to declare the money you earned by selling those gifts? Did the establishment tell you to siphon off Rs50 billion? Did they tell you to make Pinky Peerni [Bushra Bibi] your front woman to carry out massive corruption?”
“Even his party members, who he gathered from other parties including PML-N, PPP, etc., know that he is not a blue-eyed boy anymore. That’s why they are not part of the long march either.”
She said that the court should take notice of Khan’s statement as he is continuously lying about not being disqualified.
Maryam claimed that another big scandal will be exposed soon. “Pakistan had received a diamond set by Graff, one of the leading diamond-manufacturing companies in the world. Khan bought it from the Toshakhana for a price of Rs2 million but sold it off in Dubai for Rs22 million.”
Maryam further said that in total, Khan had looted up to Rs50 million from the Toshakhana, which is a property of the nation.
“He will be exposed soon,” she said. “Khan is no longer a stakeholder in Pakistani politics”.
Imran Khan surpasses political rivals in popularity survey: Miftah
- Miftah, Abbasi, Khokhar testing waters for launch of a political party.
- Khokar is more keen to launch the party than the other two.
- There is space for launching a new political party, they believe.
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Miftah Ismail has said that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan had surpassed all political leaders in popularity in a recent opinion poll, The News reported on Wednesday.
Miftah along with Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, and Mustafa Khokhar, who had earlier come up with the idea of seminars on “Reimagining Pakistan”, is also presently testing waters for the launch of a political party.
Miftah told The News no decision has been taken as yet, but presently they are seriously thinking on the issue.
He disclosed that they had also done a public opinion survey in July this year, which showed Imran way ahead of all in popularity.
What Abbasi said about his political future in Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and about the need for a new political party is part of the trio’s strategy to test the waters before reaching a final decision.
Abbasi, Miftah, and Mustafa are presently discussing the launch of a political party with different people besides encouraging discussion on the issue in the media and social media to assess whether it is a doable option.
Among the three, Khokar is more keen to launch the party than the other two who are not fully clear as yet whether they should do it or not.
All three, according to Miftah, agree there is space for launching a new political party in the present political situation. The question, he said, remains whether they have the capacity to attract people to join a new political party.
Through a leading entity, conducting public opinion polls, Miftah said they have also got a survey done to assess the popularity of different political parties and leaders. Their reading of the survey report made them reach the conclusion of a need for a new political party.
The three believe a significant number of voters, who are presently inclined towards Imran Khan and PTI for their rejection of PML-N, can be attracted by a new political party because neither the staunch supporters of Imran Khan nor of Nawaz would vote for any other political party.
In view of the post-May 9 difficult situations faced by Imran Khan and his party, the PTI, it is believed the new political party may attract significant voters (not the staunch supporters) of the PTI, who would never vote for PMLN or other political party in Punjab.
Among the three, Khokhar, left the PPP after the party’s leadership objected to his certain statements criticising powerful quarters. Miftah got the cold shoulder from the PML-N top leadership for publicly defending his economic solutions, which are different from that of Ishaq Dar’s.
Miftah also criticised Dar’s policies as finance minister and argued that he too was criticised as finance minister by Dar. However, his criticism of Dar’s policies has made him an alien to Sharifs.
Abbasi has started distancing himself from the PML-N top leadership for the last several months. The PML-N top leadership was keen not to let Abbasi drift from them, but the latter sounded dissatisfied with the politics of all the three leading political parties including PML-N.
Abbasi also did not show his keenness in the PML-N ticket for the next elections, while he had already declined to continue as senior vice-president of the party after Maryam Nawaz was announced as senior vice-president and chief organiser of PML-N.
On the direction of Nawaz Sharif, Maryam had visited Abbasi at the latter’s residence in Islamabad to convince him not to leave the office of senior vice-president of PMLN. Shahid had politely declined. Now, he appears to be quitting the PML-N anytime.
What will happen when Nawaz Sharif lands in Pakistan?
- Nawaz Sharif to attend rally on Oct 21, appear before court the next day.
- “Consultations being held on seeking protective bail from another court.”
- Dastagir adds that Nawaz can get nation out of difficulties even today.
LAHORE: The legal minds of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) are holding consultations on challenges party’s supremo Nawaz Sharif faces upon his return to the country, it emerged on Tuesday.
Speaking to Geo News, former federal minister Khurram Dastagir said that Nawaz will go to attend a rally at Minar-e-Pakistan after landing at the Lahore airport on October 21 and will appear before a court the next day.
However, he added, the party is holding discussions on legal matters for the intervening period between his arrival and appearance before the respective court and consultations are being held on seeking protective bail from another court [to avoid arrest].
The former prime minister has been in London since November 2019 after he left the country for medical treatment. He was serving a jail term in corruption cases when the Lahore High Court (LHC) allowed him to seek treatment from abroad.
On Monday, Interior Minister Sarfraz Bugti created a stir when he said that the PML-N supremo would be arrested upon return but backtracked his remarks following a strong response from the party.
The PML-N is preparing for a grand reception for Nawaz and plans to hold a massive rally of 1 million people in their stronghold — Lahore.
Dastagir, while responding to a question, said that the former premier had gone abroad on the permission granted to him by two courts and would enter with their approval.
“An appeal is pending before a court and Nawaz Sharif will pursue it upon return,” he said.
The former minister added that people should understand that those responsible for the corruption are those who have been doing political engineering since 2014.
“The situation was bad in 2013 but Nawaz Sharif brought the country out of the worst situation and even today, he can get the nation out of these difficulties.”
To a question, Dastagir said the 15-party coalition is responsible for the successes and failures of the 16-month government.
“PML-N’s 16-month performance is a story of pulling the country out of crises,” he added.
When asked about the reports of the formation of a new political party, he responded, “Shahid Khaqan Abbasi should have told that there is peace in Karachi today and credit goes to the PML-N.”
Referring to the spike in militancy in the country, the PML-N leader said the terrorism that is increasing today is because of Imran Khan and Arif Alvi who offered amnesty to the Taliban in 2021.
About a rumoured “secret” meeting of Shehbaz Sharif earlier this month, he said, “I do not know about the meeting in Gujranwala, I cannot deny or confirm it.”
Senate committee recommends ECP hold polls within 90 days
- Committee recommends ECP announce polls schedule at earliest.
- ECP official says preliminary delimitations will be published on Sep 27.
- About 60 days are required for filing and disposal of representations, ECP.
ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Parliamentary Affairs has asked the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to conduct elections within 90 days by reducing the time for filing representations for delimitation from 30 to seven days, The News reported.
In a meeting presided over by Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Senator Taj Haider, the committee also drew the electoral body’s attention towards its constitutional obligation of holding polls in the context of the National Assembly’s dissolution.
The Senate panel recommended that the commission announce the schedule of the election at the earliest to ensure clarity on the uncertainty around conducting elections.
Briefing the committee on the polls-related matters, ECP Secretary Omar Hamid Khan said the preliminary delimitations will be published on September 27.
However, he explained a period of approximately 60 days will be required for filing and disposal of representations.
He told the committee that some 91,809 polling stations were to be established out of which 49,919 had been designated as sensitive or highly sensitive.
He pointed out that out of the 49,919 polling stations, 17,411 had been categorised as highly sensitive and another 32,508 as sensitive while 41,809 (around 45%) were designated as normal.
He contended that the general election will encompass 266 National Assembly constituencies and 593 provincial assemblies’ constituencies. Moreover, he noted around 1 million polling staff will be required for the upcoming general election.
The committee inquired about the methods for the consolidation of results. The secretary of ECP said electronic devices having ECP-developed software will be used to send snapshots of Form-45 to returning officers and software was also equipped to keep track of time and place of snapshots in order to ensure the legitimacy of elections.
Regarding the use of funds for development schemes, Senator Haider emphasised that funds should be allocated to the approved schemes. The secretary ECP explained that there was no ban on development schemes approved prior to August 15.
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