Sunday April 21, 2024

PTI a ‘foreign-funded group’: Marriyum Aurangzeb

December 11, 2022
Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb addressing a press conference in Islamabad on December 10, 2022. PID
Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb addressing a press conference in Islamabad on December 10, 2022. PID 

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb said Saturday the PTI was not a political party but a “propaganda group” which was led by a “foreign funded Fitna agent Imran Khan” who used the Daily Mail to hamper Pakistan’s foreign aid.

Addressing a press conference here, she said that Imran Khan’s announcement of dissolution of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) provincial assemblies was only a bluff. She dared him to make public the resignations of his party’s members of the two assemblies.

The minister alleged that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) ran dirty trends on social media through the foreign funding received by its leader for fulfilling his anti-Pakistan agenda. Imran Khan had been accusing others of gulping the money received in the name of natural disasters, but he himself utilised the charitable donations for his personal and political gains. “Imran Khan himself has been convicted for all the crimes for which he sent all his political opponents behind the bars during the last four years,” she said. He was accusing others of wrongdoings which he himself committed, she added.

The minister said the failure of DRS during the 2018 general elections was part of the conspiracy to impose Imran Khan on the country. It was important to tell the facts to those who were hypnotised by the propaganda of “foreign funded agent”. With Imran Khan being in power, she added, the country’s growth rate nosedived as his focus was only on victimisation of the political opponents.

A smear campaign was launched for the character assassination of opponents, who were also sent to jails by instituting bogus cases, as the PM House was turned into a kidnapping centre, she lamented.

Marriyum said the Asset Recovery Unit headed by Shehzad Akbar became an Asset Making Unit, which was also used to malign Imran Khan’s opponents, who were kept in death cells during their incarceration. No allegations of wrongdoings were proved against the opponents in the courts of law as the National Accountability Bureau sought adjustments instead of providing any evidences, she recalled.

The minister said David Rose of the Daily Mail was brought to Pakistan and he held meetings with Imran Khan at the PM House. The story against Shehbaz Sharif was planted in the newspaper by the PTI government. Taking a dig at Imran Khan, she wondered what type of video he had of David Rose.

She said the allegations that Shehbaz Sharif as Punjab chief minister had misappropriated DFID grant for the 2005 earthquake victims, were against national interests. In animosity towards Shehbaz Sharif, the PTI leadership forgot that such baseless allegations would harm Pakistan’s national interests and tarnish its image internationally, she added.

The very next day of publication of the story, despite being Sunday- a holiday, the DFID strongly rebutted the allegations of corruption in its funds use and provided details of standard operating procedures of its grants release, she added.

All the foreign funded projects during Shehbaz Sharif’s chief ministership in Punjab were implemented in an exemplary manner, the minister remarked. She said by misusing the powers, David Rose was provided access to the accused in jails and also given documents of the references (filed by NAB), which though had not yet achieved finality.

No allegation was proved against the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leaders in any court and all the arrested ones had gotten bails, she said, adding the courts’ observations while hearing the bail pleas should be enough for the PTI leadership to feel ashamed for targeting the opponents.

Marriyum said Shehbaz Sharif filed a defamation suit in the London High Court and its proceedings continued for three years. During the period, the management of Daily Mail sought adjournments for nine times. Despite those extensions and excuses of Covid-19 and law and order situation, no proof of corruption or misappropriation in the DFID grant was presented in the court, she added.

The Daily Mail management, she said, had confessed in the court that they did not have any evidence of the allegations against Shehbaz Sharif and had to tender an unconditional apology. She said Justice Matthew of Queen’s Court in February last year asked the defendants to present any evidences but they failed to do so.

The minister recalled that the PTI used the fake story planted in the Daily Mail for its smear campaign and splashed it in local newspapers. David Rose was used to speak in many talk shows.

Lamenting the PTI’s mindset, she said even after the Daily Mail’s unconditional apology, many excuses were being made by the propaganda gang by saying that it apologised for only NAB’s part. She asked why Daily Mail had offered an unconditional apology and removed the entire story from its website and informed the court of removing its entire links in coordination with Google.

Similarly, she said, the PTI played havoc with the foreign policy by playing with the cipher about which Imran Khan had recently stated that that issue was now over. Those who believed in Imran’s claims should realise that whatever happened to the country in the past four years was not an “accidental process” but was being done through a well-planned plot which was being acted upon even today, she added. They were still out to destabilise the system and the government, the process which they had started with the 2014 sit-in, the minister said.

Marriyum said Imran Khan would have to answer about the foreign funding of his party, BRT and Toshakhana cases, cipher and others. If thrice elected prime minister Nawaz Sharif, PM Shehbaz Sharif, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Khwaja Asif, Khwaja Saad Rafique, Salman Rafique, Hanif Abbasi and other PML-N leaders could respond to the allegations levelled against them, then Imran Khan and his party leaders could not be spared.

She said the Daily Mail’s apology to Shehbaz Sharif had in fact restored the respect of 220 million Pakistanis who could now say with pride that they did not siphon off the aid money.

Imran Khan and Shehzad Akbar should apologize to the 220 million people of Pakistan who were ridiculed by him across the globe, she maintained. The minister also congratulated the nation on exoneration of Rana Sanaullah in a false case.

To a query, she said the double-digit inflation during the last six months was the result of the economic mess created by the PTI in the last four years. She said the PMLN had fixed the economy during its previous government and brought down the inflation to the lowest level in the country’s history. “We will bring the inflation down again because we have the capability and experience,” she added.

She said the coalition government had been restoring the image of the country at international level through an effective diplomacy.

Marriyum said Imran Khan had proven that he was a liar, incompetent, conspirator and disqualified person. All those who had looted the national exchequer, did foreign funding and stole gifts from the Toshakhana would be held accountable at all costs.

To another query, she took a dig at the PTI members who had approached the court after resigning from the National Assembly. The people needed to understand that Imran Khan had a mindset of hatching conspiracies, spreading chaos and anarchy, and hurling allegations on others, she noted. The minister reiterated that the general election would be held in October 2023.

To another query, she said there was no exchange of hot words between AJK Prime Minister Sardar Tanvir Ilyas and PM Shehbaz Sharif. The PTI would love to do anything which made it a headline in India.