Monday May 16, 2022

Talk of deal echoes once again

Country’s political scene Sunday once again echoed with the claims and counterclaims of a deal and dheel [relaxation or leniency] by the ruling and the opposition parties.

January 17, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Country’s political scene Sunday once again echoed with the claims and counterclaims of a deal and dheel [relaxation or leniency] by the ruling and the opposition parties.

Special Assistant to Prime Minister Shahbaz Gill claimed that PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif was seeking a deal from the government for four people. "This is the last plea that Shehbaz has made — a relaxation for four people, and the promise that even Maryam won't engage in politics," said Gill.

Gill said Shehbaz wanted himself, Hamza Shehbaz, and Maryam Nawaz to be allowed to go to London to live with Nawaz Sharif. The cases against them should be dropped and Shahid Khaqan Abbasi should take over the leadership of the party here, he claimed while giving details of the ‘deal’.

He was talking to the media at the inaugural ceremony of Women's College in Miranwala Bangla area in Faisalabad. "However much of a deal and leeway you had to be provided, you have been," he told the Sharif family. Addressing the Sharifs, he said it is "not as if you are out on a shopping trip, that you are seeking a deal".

Gill said the Sharif family would never be given a deal. "You have Imran Khan standing in your way," he said. "He did not let them go when he was in the opposition, how come he will let them go now?" he added.

"We won't even give you a boiled potato, and here you are asking for a chicken burger deal," he remarked, adding: "The Sharif family is asking for a burger deal which also includes a toy." He said there would be accountability and soon Shehbaz Sharif would be behind bars.

Shahbaz Gill said that people were being told daily that Nawaz Sharif was returning. He said Ayaz Sadiq said that he would come back with Nawaz Sharif. He asked, “Has Nawaz Sharif forgotten the way back to the country?”

He said that Nawaz Sharif's visa had expired, he would be sent back. That was why the PML-N was demanding a deal. He said all the compulsions of the government had been removed; so no one should expect any leniency now.

Gill claimed that he met Nawaz thrice while he was hospitalised in Pakistan, and that the PML-N supremo "would always plead to be let go". The premier's aide said that the government seeks to bring back Nawaz, who is currently residing in London after travelling there to seek medical treatment in Nov 2019. He claimed that Nawaz is "being put on a plane and sent here" and that he will "go to jail when he arrives here".

Gill said that now, politics in Pakistan would see a clean competition between one vote and another, instead of the use of dirty tactics. Meanwhile, Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry, in a separate media briefing, also spoke about the Sharif family, claiming that there is a "race" under way among four leading members.

"When the four big leaders went to meet 'someone', they said that 'Nawaz Sharif did wrong with the country, why don't you consider us?'," the minister claimed. The two PTI leaders, however, have not been the first to recently speak of "four Sharifs". On Friday, Minister for Interior Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said that "all four members" of the Sharif family can consider themselves "subtracted" from Pakistan's politics.

Sheikh Rashid said: "They want that the hand of mercy that was placed on the head of Prime Minister Imran Khan be placed on their heads. That hand may well end up on their necks, but never their heads."

In response to Gill's remarks, PML-N's Talal Chaudhry said that it is Nawaz Sharif who will "never give any breathing space to the fake government". "Look at where the country stands. Neither does the poor man have bread to eat, nor does our nation has any honour," Chaudhry said.

"The hand of mercy that was on your head, is now at the feet of Nawaz Sharif," the PML-N leader claimed. Chaudhry said: "They can scarcely run the government and yet have the gall to spin such tales."

PML-N's Rana Sanaullah, on the other hand, responded to Fawad Chaudhry, saying that what the information minister said was akin to someone resorting to such measures when they have nothing else, referring to a Punjabi saying which he said would be inappropriate to say on air.

Sanaullah was speaking on Geo News show "Naya Pakistan", where he went on to ask Chaudhry to openly speak and name the four people he claims went to meet "someone" and also name that "someone".

"The PML-N categorically denies talk of such deals; it has not been its tradition to do so, and neither has there now been any party decision of this sort," Sanaullah said. He also refuted reports of any meeting between Nawaz and anyone else on the subject. "No meeting has taken place with Mian Sahib," he said firmly.

He said, in fact, the political orphans were crying in desperation and people like Sheikh Rashid, who’s a declared peon of Imran Khan, were not in a position to make any decision about a leader like Nawaz Sharif. The PML-N leader added: "We have no need for such deals."

"If they have such intimate knowledge of who met whom, then why the need to speak so cryptically? Why not be straight about it?" he asked. Sanaullah said that such statements popping up from the government's side are a reflection of how they need such narratives to "prop up their image" which has inherently become "very weak".

"Their people no longer wish to contest elections on their (PTI's) tickets, even if we do not give them a ticket," the PML-N leader claimed.