LAHORE/JHANG: PML-N senior leader Khawaja Saad Rafique on Saturday warned the rivals that if they succeeded in their plan to remove the government, his party too will not let them complete the tenure in future. “It is possible that the opponents could come into government after toppling ours but they should keep in mind we too are not so good that we will allow them to rule the country,” Saad remarked.
The federal minister said it did not matter how massive an alliance the opponents form against them, as the PML-N would not back down from pursuing the ideology of civilian supremacy in a democracy.
“Everybody has the right to be part of any coalition and it is not an objectionable practice. However, it is objectionable when lies are propagated, when religion, sectarianism and the Finality of the Prophethood are politicised, and used as tool to spread hatred and confusion among people” he stressed, while addressing an APC at the Lahore High Court Bar.
Talking about the current challenges faced by the political landscape of Pakistan, he said all the parties had the right to oppose and criticise each other and the government, but they should not let any of their actions result in discontinuation of the democratic process.
“You can accuse a politician of being a liar, corrupt, a blasphemer or an apostate but you can never kill and bury him and his political narrative,” he stressed.
He said “this recent trend of inciting religious sentiment for political gains is very dangerous. Pakistan should be saved from Talibanisation as it is in nobody’s interest, he said and added the country is already fighting hard to recover from the first wave of Talibanisation that brought so much destruction to the country.
The laws regarding Finality of Prophethood are intact and stronger than ever. Both the Houses of the Parliament, including all political parties, have approved it and yet the propaganda on television and in rallies continues,” Saad said.
“We should be very careful that we should not cross any red lines in our aggressive pursuance of political targets that would empower another wave of religious extremist behaviour like that of the Taliban”, said the railways minister.
Saad said instigating hate speech that led to attacks on the homes of politicians is an act that could lead to a civil war, as no politician lacked support of his followers "Why the elected prime ministers are ousted in the country," he questioned, and said it had been made a joke on mainstream and social media.
Saad said he did agree with the politics of Pakistan Sarzameen Party leader Mustafa Kamal, but it is true that the local governments are not empowered by any province. “We should work more to ensure devolution in its true spirit,” he added.
Talking to media, Saad criticised the opposition alliance demanding resignations from the ruling party and said no party could bring down the PML-N. The PML-N leader said everyone has the right to express their stance, but one should refrain from derogatory and insulting comments even for one’s worst political rivals. “We are all humans and no human is free of mistakes, however, there are certain basic principles on which none of us should ever compromise.”
“Political rivalries and differences do not overshadow personal relations and mutual respect among politicians and all parties should agree on at least one point agenda of timely elections and continuation of the democratic process, lest we all regret our actions later,” he warned. Saad criticised Musharraf for stating that a country’s democracy and Constitution could be compromised for its security and said security, democracy and Constitution are all tied together.
On the other hand while addressing the groundbreaking ceremony of a RLNG-fired power plant in Jhang, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said the political alliances against the PML-N government were nothing but zero plus zero is equal to zero. “If you add zero to zero then you still get zero,” he remarked.
Abbasi remarked that what can he do when the politicians are trying to ambush democracy. He was referring to the calls for early elections and the attempts to form anti-government alliance by the opposition parties amid the meetings of different party leaders with Dr Tahirul Qadri.
Abbasi again rejected the call for early elections and said the next polls would be held on time in August 2018 according to the wishes of the people, with the results reflecting their decision, adding that the government would complete the five-year tenure successfully. The PML-N will contest the coming elections on the basis of development-oriented performance, said the prime minister.
Abbasi said power plants had been completed with the extraordinary efforts of the Punjab government but electricity would be provided to the whole country. He hailed the role of Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif who, he added, had played an integral role in materialising the development projects. He said due to the failed rental power plants of the previous PPP’s government, the country is now facing billions of rupee debt. Abbasi said while the CPEC was initiated during the PPP’s tenure but it was materialised only by the PML-N because of the trust reposed by the people.
The Punjab government signed an agreement with a Chinese company to set up the 1,263-MW RLNG-fuelled power plant on September 29, the prime minister said. Minister for Water and Power Sardar Awais Leghari was also present on the occasion.