ISLAMABAD: Hitting back at the multi-party conference hosted by the opposition parties on Sunday, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday said the statements against the government and state institutions was an attempt to appease the Indian lobby.
In a meeting chaired by the prime minister, which was attended by the party representatives and spokespersons, Imran guided the participants about the government's policy in response to the opposition’s criticism at the APC.
“No one is bothered by the APC's decision. The nation is aware of the faces [that were] sitting in the APC and their personal goals,” sources quoted Imran as saying. The premier asked his ministers and PTI members to respond "with reason and logic" to the opposition's criticism.
Imran was quoted as saying that “in a democracy, all institutions work under the government” and that the opposition’s criticism was “pointless and an attempt to divert attention from their corruption”.
The government, during the meeting, decided to speak on the APC’s demands and has tasked federal ministers Shibli Faraz, Asad Umar and Fawad Chaudhry with countering the opposition’s narrative presented at the conference.
Meanwhile, Information and Broadcasting Minister Senator Shibli Faraz said Prime Minister Imran Khan had decided that the speeches of all opposition leaders from Nawaz Sharif onwards should be allowed to run live, but it were the PPP and PML-N, which did not let run Fazlur Rehman’s speech.
Addressing a press conference here with other ministers, Shibli said the prime minister’s direction was complied with and Nawaz Sharif, Asif Zardari and Bilawal Bhutto's speeches were broadcast.
However, he said that the government did not stop Fazlur Rehman's speech. During his speech to APC, the minister pointed out Nawaz Sharif tried to make the election process dubious and rigged, but facts and history tell otherwise.
“Nawaz Sharif was prime minister for three times. He does not have the habit of fair and transparent elections. This time clean and transparent elections were held and he could not form a government and did not get enough seats to form a government, and they were extremely on it.”
Shibli said in 2013 elections, the PTI raised the issue of recounting in some constituencies and opening four constituencies. “If the results were correct there, we will cooperate with you (PML-N) and the government will also run. But despite all these efforts, a commission was formed and an inquiry was held on the decision of the apex court,” he said.
The minister said he had seen Nawaz rhetoric to make the election controversial. “If things go according to his intentions, it is fine. If the court rules in his favor, it is fine. If it rules against him, it is not right. If he succeeds, he is fine; if he is not, he is not fine. By spreading this kind of confusion and making things controversial by knowing the facts, he is neither serving Pakistan nor democracy,” he said while referring to Nawaz Sharif.
Regarding Nawaz Sharif’s health, he said, “Yesterday, you all must have seen that Nawaz Sharif looked very strong, healthy, cheerful, whether he intends to come to Pakistan or not, whether he is still adamant that he is sick, these are the questions they have to answer.”
Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar said the Indian media had celebrated Nawaz Sharif's anti-state institutions address. Nawaz Sharif, he said, attacked almost all the state institutions, including the Pakistan Army and the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).
Asad said the APC was given an extraordinary coverage by the Indian media, which manifested the fact that the enemy states were disturbed over Pakistan's journey towards economic and political stability.
He said the armed forces had rendered a lot of sacrifices to make the country secure and peaceful. “Around 150 troops laid down their lives this year only. The erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) is now peaceful while the situation in Karachi is far better.”
He said enemies did not want Pakistan to come out of crises and move fast on the path of development, while the opposition was working on their agenda. Asad Umar said the government and the Pakistan Army were working together for the country's development, and they were handling all the crises, including the COVID-19 pandemic, locusts etc in close coordination.
He said the prime minster had repeatedly told the nation that the opposition's politics of stealing the public wealth was at stake and they would get together to save the looted money.
The APC proved what the PM had predicted, he added. The minister said it was an irony that the opposition did not talk about the global issue of COVID-19. The incumbent government's successes in controlling the pandemic are being commended across the world.
About the legislation related to the Financial Action Task Force, he said the law was aimed at bringing the country out of the grey list. “There should have been no politicking on it, but the opposition tried to blackmail the government for an NRO (National Reconciliation Ordinance) in return for getting the relevant bills passed from the Parliament. Since they had failed in their attempts to get an NRO and are in panic particularly after the passage of anti-money laundering bill, they are now using various tactics to pressurize the government,” he said.
Minister for Science and Technology Chaudhry Fawad Hussain said the opposition parties just wanted relaxation in the corruption cases being faced by their leaders in different courts and permission to send Maryam Bibi to London, for which they were attempting to malign the state institutions.
“All dispute is of sending Maryam Bibi to London and giving relaxation to the opposition parties in court cases,” he said. In the past, Fawad said it was on record that Nawaz Sharif had been getting unprecedented relief from courts in different cases, but now when his corruption had fully exposed and he was trying to malign the state institutions.
He said the government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan, time and again conveyed that it was ready to discuss national matters with the opposition parties, but there would be no compromise on national interests.
The minister said Nawaz Sharif and PML-N leadership had been an integral part of all the conspiracies hatched against democracy in the country. Fawad said whatever Nawaz Sharif said in his speech matched with the narrative of a pro-India group stationed in the US.
“Nawaz speech was celebrated in India,” he said, adding that opposition parties’ narrative was developed out of Pakistan in collaboration with anti-state elements.
He said criticizing state institutions was tantamount to making the state controversial, and it was exactly what the anti-state elements wanted. PTI Senator Faisal Javed said the Army was with Imran Khan from foreign policy to Karachi plan.
In a statement issued on Twitter, Faisal Javed said Imran Khan was sincere with the nation and his country. He said India wanted Pakistan to be divided into three parts. He said the armed forces were the guarantors of Pakistan's defense. “There is a whole campaign against the institutions but it will fail in any case.”