LAHORE/ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN) has asked the institutions, including the judiciary, to remain in their domain and avoid crossing the red line so that the country could move in the right direction.
Federal ministers and leaders of the PMLN were speaking at the conference held in connection with the martyrdom day of Khawaja Rafiq Shaheed here on Monday. Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, Hamid Mir, Sardar Atiqur Rehman, and others were present.
Federal Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said that all the elite, including the establishment, judiciary, bureaucracy, and media, were responsible for the current problems of the country. “I think that the resignations of PTI MNAs should be accepted to end the ongoing turmoil,” he said, adding that if Nawaz Sharif had compromised in the last days of his tenure, nothing would have come out of anything, including Panama.
Imran Khan and those who brought him to power, according to Federal Minister for Railways and Aviation Khawaja Saad Rafiq, should be held accountable for bringing the country to the brink of bankruptcy. “To get out of the current situation and have a better future, every political party has to bring democracy within itself and also make an economic charter based on democracy,” he maintained.
Khawaja Asif criticised Imran Khan and said that he has no loyalty to the country but has a lust for power and money. He claimed that there were so many scandals involving Imran Khan that people would forget everything. He advised the National Assembly Speaker to accept the resignation of PTI members and unite all political parties on one platform to solve the country’s problems.
Khawaja Saad Rafiq said in his address that no one other than the parliament could decide in which direction the country should go. He said no one can exclude anyone from politics. “Please don’t cross the red line of politics and democracy and be in your ambit,” he said, adding that the politics of dissolving the assemblies should end to bring political and economic stability to the country.
He said that all political parties must hold party elections to bring ordinary political workers to power and speak the entire truth. “Now everyone will have to fight elections without the crutches,” he said, and he maintained that those who play with this country will not be able to escape under any circumstances.
During the seminar, resolutions were also passed to extend the Charter of Democracy to the Charter of Economy and to give the full right to self-determination to Kashmiris as per UN resolutions.
Khawaja Asif said the story of oppression in Kashmir and Palestine is the same while cruelty toward Rohingyas continues in front of the world. He said the country’s political situation has deteriorated to such an extent that there is no focus on Kashmir.
He claimed that a woman received Rs7 million in zakat via five cheques. He said when the leader himself was a pickpocket; the followers would follow the suit.
He said the Imran Khan model was manufactured in 2018, and today he was abusing the hand that fed him. He said Shehbaz Sharif stood by his principles and his brother. He said the PTI wanted to resign, then resign in the KP. He said Pervaiz Elahi was no longer chief minister of the PTI, and now Imran Khan and his members should resign and go home. “The mistakes of our establishment and judiciary have come together in the form of Imran Khan,” he said, adding that every institution has failed and those who are responsible for the failure must think.
He said 44 years ago that Khawaja Rafiq was martyred. He said his father and Khawaja Rafiq were close friends.
Khawaja Saad Rafique said the alliance between landlords and establishments in Pakistan has weakened the foundation of the country, and we have tried to portray dictators as our heroes. “Pakistan has been treated like this for 75 years, and the country is not able to handle itself.”
“Today, we have starved the people in the process of tearing each other down. Whenever the country starts to move, it is overthrown again,” he said. He said national political parties should be organised because, when the time of struggle comes, only a few hundred people come forward even though we get millions of votes. He said that those who play with this country cannot escape under any circumstances. Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Sardar Ayaz Sadiq said many secrets were buried in his chest. If disclosed, he said these would not benefit the country and would be painful for all. He said huge loans were taken by Imran Khan, while circular debt also increased tremendously. “Imran Khan’s government put an additional burden of $45 billion on the country,” he claimed, adding that terrorism was rearing its head in the KP, and Imran Khan invited the chief minister to Zaman Park.
Former Azad Kashmir Prime Minister Sardar Atiqque said the Quaid-e-Azam had declared Pakistan a welfare state. He said due to a weak political setup, Bangladesh came into being. “Religious and political parties should think together about developing the country,” he suggested, adding that they should strengthen democracy, fight elections on their own, and put Pakistan first.
Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui said over 150 workers were missing. “Why is the rule of the Constitution and democracy forgotten in democracy and Pakistan,” he questioned, adding that instead of blaming someone else, the custodians of democracy should stand up and decide their path. He said democracy was the only way Pakistan could reach its destination. “If farmers are represented in the house by landlords and workers are represented by capitalists, the problems cannot be solved,” he said.
Journalist Hamid Mir said that we must speak not only about Imran Khan but also about ourselves. “Quaid-e-Azam created Pakistan for the poor and common man,” he said, adding that political parties award only councilors’ tickets to the poor and common man but not to assemblies. “There is no democracy in the PMLN, PPP, or PTI,” he said, adding that democracy got weak when democratic institutions and politics were made slaves to feudal capitalists.
MPA Saba Sadiq presented a resolution in the seminar, which stated that for a strong democratic system, the democratic charter was the most important need of the hour and all democratic forces should be strengthened so that the country can become an economic tiger.
Khawaja Salman Rafiq also presented a resolution demanding that the UN resolutions on Kashmir be fully implemented, that Kashmiris be granted the right to self-determination, and that illegal Indian rule over Kashmir is ended.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Senior Vice-President Fawad Chaudhry said Monday the former ruling party seeks “good working relations” with the establishment. But, during his conversation with a private television channel, he also said that although establishment is a reality in Pakistan, so is PTI Chairman Imran Khan. “Whoever denies this reality will not only harm themselves but also the country,” Fawad said, adding that since General Asim Munir took charge as the chief of army staff, a “difference” has been witnessed.
Shedding light on the talks with the coalition government, Fawad said that negotiations between Minister for Finance and Revenue Senator Ishaq Dar and President Arif Alvi “failed”. “They [coalition rulers] wanted to disqualify Imran and initiate criminal proceedings against him,” the PTI leader said.
Castigating the coalition government for not holding snap elections, the former federal minister said Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) cannot gain political ground despite holding polls later as they had failed on several fronts. “It has become difficult now to stand by (Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz supremo0 Nawaz Sharif and (Pakistan People’s Party Co-chairman) Asif Ali Zardari,” he added. “Imran had never thought of denotifying anyone. There’s another issue that each and everything is recorded. If you report things out of context, it seems like a conspiracy is hatching,” he said, defending the audio leaks that have been surfacing recently.
In response to a question about Punjab Chief Minister Pervaiz Elahi getting “angry” about Imran’s statement regarding the ex-COAS, Fawad said: “Imran will not take instructions from Elahi.” “Elahi might have issued that statement in anger, but he never says anything to anyone,” he said.
Fawad said when his party’s government was ousted in April, the party — without specifying who — was assured that elections would take place. “But now, we are getting calls from unknown numbers and Imran has also been banned from the media. Some negative things are going on as well, including complaints from our MPs that they are getting calls from unknown numbers,” he said.
He also acknowledged that the lawmakers might also be issuing such statements “just for the sake of establishing their worth”. The PTI had recently, when the political tensions heightened in Punjab, claimed that its lawmakers were getting calls from “unknown numbers” to switch loyalties and that opposition parties were approaching them and offering bribes to jump the ship.
Fawad Chaudhry has claimed that five to six MPAs of PMLN are in contact with PTI. Talking to media on Monday, Fawad stated that five to six MPAs of PMLN were willing to join PTI and they could be supported on seats where PTI and PMLQ candidates would not contest in the next general elections.
Fawad also stated that fresh polls were need of hour and they could be held by March or April. Taking on his twitter account, Fawad Chaudhry Monday proposed the abolition of provincial assemblies and the formation of assemblies at the divisional level by holding elections after every three years.
Fawad took to his Twitter account to write, “Reducing the term of the National Assembly to three years is foolish thing. Instead of that, we should re-structure provincial governments”. The PTI leader maintained that assembly should be formed at the division level by abolishing the provincial assemblies and elections for these assemblies be held after every three years. He also proposed that the high court should be taken to the division level and a judicial service of Pakistan be established.
In another tweet, he said, “US embassy restricts staff movement in Islamabad. From terrorism to tourism and now inching back to terrorism thanks to the extremely incompetent government, regime change operation has played havoc with every aspect of governance”.
PTI’s former minister Hammad Azhar also tweeted, “The free-fall of the economy continues. There is no plan in sight to arrest the decline of all key fundamentals. The regime’s only obsession is Imran Khan and rigging the system to prevent him from being voted into power by the public”.
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