LAHORE: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Mian Nawaz Sharif has said that Shaikhul Islam Dr Tahirul Qadri appeared on the country’s political scene to disrupt the upcoming general elections.
Talking to reporters along with the Jamhoori Watan Party (JWP) leader Sardar Talal Akbar Bugti and other party leaders here on Thursday, Nawaz said that the PML-N would not allow anyone to stage a puppet show in politics of the country. He said that all the cronies of Pervez Musharraf, including PPP, PML-Q, MQM and PTI, were getting closer to Dr Tahirul Qadri with the objective of fulfilling the dictator’s agenda of derailing the democratic process and keeping the PML-N away from power corridors.
“All this is being done to ambush the PML-N,” he said, adding that a few thousand people could not hold 180 million people of the country hostage. He alleged that Dr Tahirul Qadri arrived in Pakistan to derail the democratic process. He said the nation knew about the tainted past of Shaikhul Islam.
Nawaz claimed that elections were just 10 weeks away when this Canadian national started feeling pain for Pakistan. “Some people say he is in Pakistan to fulfill some foreign agenda while others see a hand of agencies behind him,” he said.
“I am also thinking why he has chosen this particular time and the only available answer is that he wants to sabotage the election process,” the PML-N chief maintained. “The people of Pakistan are all set to bring about a change in the country when all of a sudden a man intervenes and starts giving ultimatums to the government,” Nawaz added. He claimed that the people of Pakistan could not be fooled by the sermons of Shaikhul Islam, as they knew his agenda. He enquired from Tahirul Qadri as to where he had been at the time of the Lal Masjid operation, killing of Akbar Bugti and floods in Pakistan. He alleged that Tahirul Qadri had also been giving misleading statements on the blasphemous laws and now he was trying to spread anarchy in the country.
“We cannot allow this theatrical performance to go on unchecked, through which a conspiracy is being hatched to besiege the entire country with the help of a few thousand people,” Nawaz claimed.
Nawaz strongly criticised the role of other political parties, particularly the PML-Q and MQM, which he said had been in the government for the last five years and now supporting this hidden agenda. He alleged that the PPP was close to Musharraf for his signing the NRO. “Shaikhul Islam was the right hand of Musharraf. The other person who was making uproar from London was also an ally of Musharraf. The PTI leader had run his campaign during the referendum and the incumbent Deputy Prime Minister Ch Pervaiz Elahi used to make tall claims of getting him elected in uniform as the president 10 times.”
He claimed that the PML-N was the only party that was sticking to its principled stance from the day one and it seemed that all the political parties had decided to target it after viewing the results of the by-polls.
Nawaz expressed his surprise that the government allies, including the PML-Q and MQM, were supporting Qadri to stage a long march against their own government. “The people must ask the MQM and PML-Q leadership to clear their agenda before them,” Nawaz said and added that they should either support the government or stand with Qadri. He asked these political leaders why they did not demand reforms earlier.
Afterwards, responding to queries of reporters, Nawaz said Qadri was trying to overturn democracy and if he failed to achieve his target, he would definitely have to face the music. He said the Punjab government was holding consultative meetings on Qadri’s long march and if any effort was made to create a law and order situation, it would be dealt with according to the law and Constitution.
Responding to a query whether he would consult the PPP-led federal government on the issue of Qadri’s long march, he said they did not want to consult the PPP on any matter. He appealed to Dr Tahirul Qadri: “For God’s sake, have mercy on this nation and stop collecting hefty donations from the poor people in the name of Islam and afterwards spending them on public gatherings and long marches.”
He alleged that Qadri was forcing the poor people to sell their jewellery, motorbikes and even small houses for giving him donations and was setting a wrong precedent in the country in the name of Islam. He claimed that Qadri spent Rs500 million to one billion rupees on his public gathering in Lahore. He claimed that they would handle the Qadri issue stage-to-stage.
To another query, Nawaz stated they had carried out reforms despite strong differences with the government. He claimed that reforms on having the caretaker government and appointing the chief election commissioner were due to their support to the federal government. He said the PML-N got appointed a consensus CEC in the country and expressed the hope that they would appoint a consensus caretaker PM also. He conveyed to Dr Qadri to visit the Election Commission office if he wanted any reforms in it. He said Shaikhul Islam should himself abide by the Election Commission rules as a foreign passport holder could not lead a party in Pakistan.
Nawaz said his party had discussed the Balochistan issue in his meeting with Talal Bugti and they wanted a true leadership to emerge in the upcoming polls in Balochistan. He announced that he, along with Talal Bugti and other Baloch leaders, would contest the upcoming polls.