Firing fresh broadside at Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Senior Vice-President and Chief Organiser Maryam Nawaz Saturday said that former spy chief Lt Gen (retd) Faiz Hamid’s "traces in the state institution are still supporting" the deposed prime minister.
Commenting on Khan’s resistance to face the courts for the numerous cases against him, Maryam — during an interview on Geo News' programme "Jirga" — said this is the first time she has witnessed that a politician was not adhering to courts' orders despite repetitive reminders.
“He (Khan) is still being facilitated by the traces of the previous establishment, as their interests are interlinked.”
Maryam added that the judiciary has judges who are honest and full of integrity, but there still exist "some traces of [Lt Gen (retd)] Faiz through which they operated."
“Not the institution, but some people are supporting Imran,” she elaborated, claiming that the cricketer-turned-politician is still involved in “deals” and therefore wasn't appearing before the courts.
Continuing to mock Khan, the PML-N senior vice-president said that while he can go to Rawalpindi for his party’s gathering with his injured leg, he “cannot appear before the court”.
The politician added that if fingers are raised at the judiciary, it will have to conduct its accountability.
Speaking about the way Khan was facilitated to form a government in the past, Maryam said: “People of our party and those from others were separated to create his party. Those who didn’t support him were selectively disqualified.”
She claimed that the deposed prime minister’s government — which was ousted following a vote of no confidence in April last year — was guided for four years.
“Money was brought from abroad for them when they needed it,” the PML-N scion said.
In response to a question regarding the return of PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif, she said that this question wasn't applicable to them, adding that the concern should be why he had to leave the country again and again.
Maryam said: “This is Nawaz Sharif's homeland and he will return to the country.”
“You will find no example in Pakistan’s 75-year history that a leader of the country’s biggest political party was subjected to victimisation in the name of accountability.
"Fake cases were lodged against him and he not only appeared before the law [judiciary] but also accepted the victimisation with dignity in the larger interest of the country," she added.
The former prime minister returned to the country despite fears of imprisonment, Maryam recalled, adding that the PML-N supremo bravely faced political victimisation.
“Nawaz is called in whenever the country heads towards disaster. He returns and makes the country self-reliant, but then an adventurer comes and ousts him,” she said.
The PML-N stalwart said that the country's wealth was wasted on collecting evidence against Nawaz but nothing could be found against him.
In response to another query, Maryam said that the PML-N and PTI cannot be compared at all. Slamming Khan, she said: “You offered an extension to [former army chief] Gen (retd) Qamar Javed Bajwa.”
She maintained that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif did not come to power because of Gen (retd) Bajwa but Khan’s incompetence.
Referring to Khan’s Zaman Park residence as a "bunker", Maryam censured him for hiding inside it and avoiding the court.
The PML-N leader said that the fate of her party’s political opponents was written on the wall.
When asked if the party was running away from the polls, Maryam stated: “Who said [we are] running away from elections? I am in front of the public and preparing for the polls.”
She added that all the places that she has visited recently are a part of the election exercise. “We are preparing for the polls. Everyone wants a ticket from PML-N.”
The party’s chief organiser said that there is a list of people coming towards the PML-N from all four provinces.
“Punjab still has the highest demand for PML-N tickets,” Maryam claimed.
Shedding light on the current economic crisis triggered by the political turmoil, Maryam said that her party never inherited the government in such a bad state.
“No party likes to put its political career at stake,” she said, adding that the havoc wrecked in the last four years wasn’t going to be fixed in four months.
Taking a jibe at Khan for his narrative regarding relations with friendly countries, the PML-N leader said that the language used by the PTI chief had put the country's ties with all such states at stake.
“He breached the agreement signed with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) when he realised his government was being ousted. This is a criminal mentality,” she added.
While commenting on the miseries of the inflation-weary people, Maryam said that the government’s hands were tied and it could not give relief to them despite its willingness.
“[Finance Minister] Ishaq Dar does not want to increase the prices of essential goods as he sees the miseries of the people but he had to due to IMF’s compulsion.
Addressing the rumours regarding a rift between her and former PML-N senior vice-president Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Maryam said that she had a detailed conversation with the former prime minister for two and a half hours regarding his resignation.
Maryam said that Abbasi's departure from the party will be an "insult to me, not to him"; however, Khaqan said: "You are my sister", and that he wanted to give me some space.
She went on to say that the former PML-N leader had given his “valuable opinion" to her.
“I will not let Abbasi go, nor is he going anywhere,” she maintained.
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