ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb Wednesday said that the arrest of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Fawad Chaudhry was being given a political colour and linked to curbs on freedom of expression, which was incorrect.
She maintained that his was not a political arrest, insisting today the people, media and institutions have to decide where to draw the line.
The minister told a news conference, “I am addressing the people of Pakistan, the media and all those quarters who are trying to politicise this arrest and link it to the restrictions on freedom of expression.” Showing a copy of the FIR lodged against Fawad Chaudhry to the media, the minister said: “This is the FIR filed by the Election Commission against him, the election commission secretary is the plaintiff in the FIR who has filed it at the Kohsar police station.”
She said: “For nine months we have been listening to their (PTI leaders) language and words; we have patience and know how to listen to criticism knowing that they lie.”
The minister pointed out that a campaign was launched from the official PTI account against the martyrs of Pakistan Armed Forces, media channels were used to incite the Pakistan Army and its officers to treason and rebellion. “No politician is happy against the arrest of any politician as it is against the spirit of democracy.”
While narrating the tweets of PTI Chairman Imran Khan after the arrest of Nehal Hashmi, she said that when Hashmi had insulted, the party and the entire leadership had condemned it and removed him as senator.
“If (PTI Chairman) Imran Khan or his spokespersons were allowed to abuse the institutions and then let off scot free, other political parties and 220 million people of Pakistan should also be given the same privilege.”
The minister said, “If we had to take political revenge, then the entire PTI, including Imran Khan, would have been behind jail because what happened to us has not happened to any party in the history of Pakistan.
But we are the only party in Pakistan that has responded for 40 years and they should now answer about their four years”.
“Even if you apologise, appear in court, it cannot be that you violate the law, drag the children of people, families of heads of institutions into your politics,” she argued.
While pouring scorn on PTI leaders for targeting the state institutions, she pointed out that Nawaz Sharif used to appear before NAB court on a daily basis with his daughter Maryam Nawaz, but he never maligned that institution.
She recalled what she called the misuse of power and state resources during the misrule of Imran Khan and said on his orders, NAB and the Punjab Police had raided the houses of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. She continued that Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was arrested in her presence and Imran Khan took revenge by making arrests of his political opponents without warrants.
Imran Khan’s spokespersons and ministers, she noted, used to announce on TV screens prior to the arrest of his political opponents. Imran had sent all the opposition leadership behind bars and even dragged their sisters and mothers in courts just to satisfy his ego.
The minister claimed the PTI chief had the audacity to name families of his political opponents in public gatherings: Maryam Nawaz was arrested twice in false cases, but she got vindicated after her acquittal from the courts.
She recalled that Imran in his address (as prime minister) to the Pakistani community in the United States had announced that he would remove the air-conditioner from the jail barrack where Nawaz Sharif was locked up.
The minister said he also issued orders to the jail authorities that PM Shehbaz Sharif should not be given a chair in the jail while Rana Sanaullah was also falsely implicated in the heroin case and his wife was forced to wait outside the jail who had gone there for giving diabetes medicine to him.
“The then opposition leaders had fought their cases in the courts but never abused the institutions and judges while, on the contrary, the PTI leadership has started threatening the Election Commission when it gave a verdict against it in the prohibited funding case. They threatened the chief election commissioner of dire consequences if he disqualified their leader Imran Khan,” she said.
The minister said there was a context behind such attitude of the PTI whose leader Imran Khan spared nobody and even resorted to abusive language against a female judge and others.
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