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December 9, 2019

Rant of ‘minus one’ getting stronger

Top Story

December 9, 2019

LONDON/ISLAMABAD: The country’s political environment is getting thicker with the government and the opposition’s rant of ‘minus Imran’ and ‘minus Maryam’, keeping the masses guessing about which of the two is going to bow out.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leaders say the PTI government has failed on all fronts due to its incompetence and now an in-house change is the need of the hour.

Speaking to Geo News on Saturday, the PML-N leaders who arrived in London on Friday for an important meeting, said an in-house change was needed to hold free and fair elections and to bring a democratically elected government to resolve critical issues faced by the masses.

The PML-N leaders held a meeting under the leadership of Shahbaz Sharif at a restaurant on Edgware Road where the current situation of Pakistan was discussed and a future strategy formalised.

Khawaja Asif, MarriyumAurangzeb, Rana Tanveer, Ayaz Sadiq, Ahsan Iqbal, Pervaiz Rasheed, Amir Muqam, Khurram Dastagir and Ishaq Dar participated in the meeting held at Maroush Gardens.

After the meeting, the leaders visited the Avenfield apartments to meet Nawaz Sharif to inquire after him and to update him on the decisions taken during the meeting.

According to Shahbaz, Kh Asif and Ahsan Iqbal, the party had agreed that an in-house change was needed. Speaking outside Maroush Gardens, Asif said, “For fresh elections, it is our view that there should be an in-house change not for the sake of perpetuating the change but for the sake of holding new elections.”

Asif said the PML-N leaders had consulted Shahbaz on political developments that had taken place over the past few days. "We will formulate the party's policy on these matters upon our return to Pakistan," he said.

The former defence minister added that the issue of army chief's extension could not be commented upon until the issuance of the detailed judgment. After holding a meeting with former prime minister Nawaz Sharif for around an hour and a half, Shahbaz and Ahsan Iqbal briefed the media outside the Avenfield apartments.

Shahbaz said Nawaz’s personal physician Dr Adnan Khan had briefed the PML-N leaders about his health. He said the results of PET scans had shown his lymph nodes had grown. He said doctors will look into the issue of lymph nodes as well as the issue of platelets’ maintenance.

Shahbaz said Nawaz will return to Pakistan upon completion of his treatment and when advised by the doctors. Speaking about the political situation of the country, the PML-N president said, “The atmosphere of Islamabad is gripped by the culture of jaadu toona (black magic)”.

He said the PML-N wanted the best to become members of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) which was the reason behind his letter to the prime minister. “Our experience in the recent past with Imran Khan had been extremely disappointing, but despite that, I wrote to him again. We believe we should talk about these critical issues, develop a consensus and choose the best candidates.”

Talking about the extension of Army Chief General Qamar Bajwa, Ahsan said the issue did come up in the meeting and it was decided that the PML-N would comment on this issue after looking into the detailed judgment by the Supreme Court.

He also accused the PTI government of deliberately defaming the Pakistan Army and creating an issue.

He said the extension of army chief’s tenure should have been dealt with as a routine matter. “The government had time from August to November to go through all rules and aspects but they deliberately made it complicated and brought embarrassment to our armed forces.” He said the appointment of CEC members was known for ages but it was delayed and then the leader of the opposition had no choice but to write to the court.

The PML-N leader accused the prime minister of failing the people of oppressed Kashmir by not doing anything for them in more than four months. The premier, he said, had announced he would be an ambassador for Kashmiris but his government did nothing for the people of the valley.

“The government has failed to get international support for Kashmiris, while lockdown and curfew continue in the valley,” he added. He further said the PML-N would be joining other parties to protest against inflation and failure of the government to provide relief to ordinary people.

He said food inflation was above 16 per cent, affecting the poor people of the country. “The PTI government’s agenda is to divert the attention of people from the real issue by attacking the opposition with baseless allegations and lies,” he added.

Meanwhile, commenting on the PML-N leaders’ talk of in-house change, PTI leader Jahangir Tareen Sunday said no one could even think of minus Prime Minister Imran Khan, as he was the reason for the PTI’s existence.Talking to the media in Islamabad after meeting the PML-Q President Chaudhry Shujaat and Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, he said Chaudhry brothers did not have any reservations about the federal government.

He said the government was continuing its efforts to stabilise economy, which had been destroyed by the PML-N and Pakistan People’s Party during their last 10 years in power.

He said Parliament was a superior institution, which had full power for legislation. Tareen claimed that the government will approve a law after making a consensus with the opposition at an appropriate time.

“Those facing cases in the country have fled abroad. I have contacted Akhtar Mengal today and we have decided to resolve all issues through dialogues. I have also met with Chaudhry brothers and they have no reservations about the federal government.”

Answering another question, Tareen said the issue of former military ruler Pervez Musharraf would be taken into consideration after the court verdict. “We have harvested what the opposition had sown,” he said.

To a question about the PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz’s plea seeking to travel abroad, the PTI leader said those who were facing cases wanted to go abroad. Tareen predicted that the time to minus Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) Vice President Maryam Nawaz had arrived.

In a related development, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan said it was ironic that the PML-N leaders who met in London on Saturday included those who were wanted by the law.

Taking to Twitter on Sunday, Firdous said the entire PML-N had set up a camp with "the absconders". "It is the right of every prisoner to seek medical treatment. In the same way, it is the right of the law to prosecute those found guilty of violating it," she said.

Meanwhile, JUI-F chief Fazlur Rehman Sunday said efforts would continue to send the government packing. Addressing a public rally in Peshawar, he said the opposition’s sit-in had upset the rulers, adding that the increasing inflation had made the life of the common man miserable.

Terming the government illegal, he again claimed that the boat of rulers was about to sink. “The rulers have turned Peshawar into ruins. They have taken more loans than the total loans taken by all the previous governments. Emergency loans are being taken from the Asian Development Bank (ADB).” He further said the government had sold Kashmir, adding that traitors could not be allowed to rule the country.