Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Senior Vice President Maryam Nawaz has put a question before the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) if it wants the "same level playing field" as her father Nawaz Sharif had, as Bilawal Bhutto Zardari calls for equal electioneering opportunities for all political parties.
With the country inching towards general elections after a long wait, the political parties, especially the two former allies PML-N and PPP, have begun their election campaigns ahead of the 2024 polls in full swing.
However, PPP has alleged that the caretaker government is granting favours to Nawaz and so are the courts — as he's been getting reliefs in his cases since his return to Pakistan on October 21 after ending four years of exile.
Maryam, who is also the chief organiser of PML-N, while addressing the party's youth convention in Gujrat on Saturday, hit back at the Bilawal's party, saying that she prays no one gets the same level playing field as her father.
"If you want a level playing field like Nawaz Sharif, then you should see what level playing field he has been given [over time]. Do you want this level playing field?" Maryam asked while referring to the PML-N supremo's years in exile and prison.
She said that Nawaz was given the chance to contest in an election only once in 22 years, while he lost his wife and mother during his time in jail and abroad.
Recalling the October 21 rally PML-N organised at Minar-e-Pakistan to welcome the three-time prime minister upon his return, Maryam said that she was tearful to see the homecoming of Nawaz, about whom people said, "his politics has ended".
She said that the success of the rally showed that the people had pinned hopes for their future on Nawaz.
Regarding the PML-N's legal and political hurdles, Maryam said: "Nawaz's political journey wasn't easy".
She said that the former premier spent 11 years in exile and he is still running pillar to post in courts due to "false cases".
"There is no prison in the country where Nawaz Sharif hadn't been jailed but when the nation had the chance to decide, they gave their decision in his favour," she added.
Maryam said that doing injustice was easy but ending it is difficult in this country. She said that her father is getting justice at a snail's pace but it is still being said that he is being favoured.
Firing a fresh salvo at PML-N's arch-rival Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) supreme leader Imran Khan, Maryam said that he was behind bars after telling so many lies.
"The one who is paying for his deeds, [I] don't even want to take his name. Not Nawaz Sharif but his [Imran] own deeds have taken him to the place where he is now," the PML-N leader said.
Without naming Imran, Maryam said that Nawaz was elected prime minister thrice but no alleged heist or corruption could be proved against him but the former PTI chairman did the biggest theft after becoming the prime minister once.
"The one who called Nawaz a thief was caught doing the biggest theft in history.
"He got the cabinet's approval for a sealed envelope. He and his wife [Bushra Bibi] acquired lands through the Al Qadir Trust and when he was questioned, he came with a plaster on his foot and a bucket on his head," she added.
Meanwhile, PPP Chairman Bilawal, while addressing a rally in Lower Dir, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, took a jibe at Nawaz for hoping to become prime minister for a fourth time.
“Mian sahib you have come [to the power] three times via selection. At least be elected for [your] fourth tenure [as prime minister this time," he said adding that the PML-N supremo wanted to have the power through "selection" once again.
He said that if this happened again, neither he nor the nation would accept the election results.
“An audio attributed to me has gone viral on social media. I endorse it,” Kamal says
JUI-F supremo also blames establishment for seeking “government of their choice”
Sindh Governor Kamran Tessori administers oath to the Shah at a ceremony attended by top officials
Met Office advises tourists not to travel unnecessarily
Training culminated with field manoeuver and battle inoculation exercises, says ISPR
PPP chairman foresees president facing multiple cases for violating Constitution