–Faraz terms APC a bid to pressure govt to back off on accountability
ISLAMABAD: The government on Sunday slammed the opposition’s All Party Conference (APC), with the top brass of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), including Federal Minister for Marine Affairs Ali Zaidi, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Political Communication Shahbaz Gill, and Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Senator Shibli Faraz, condemning the opposition.
Zaidi said, “Today, Nawaz Sharif has declared war with the entire Pakistani nation! He says that his feud is not with Imran Khan, it is with those who brought [him] to power. [PTI] has come to power with the votes of 17 million people … not with the help of a ‘chit’!”
SAPM Gill slammed the opposition leaders while addressing a press conference, saying that they are allowed to organise all parties conferences (APCs) as many as they want, however, NRO will not be given to the corrupt.
“The present government has an agenda to provide all facilities to the deserving nationals and accountability of corrupt elements. Accountability will continue and NRO will not be given,” he added.
“Why are they all making the anti-money laundering legislation an issue? Obviously, the AML laws will become an issue for smugglers and corruption persons. This APC is actually an all parties thieves’ association and its ideology is based on lies. They have always termed the accountability process as political revenge against them,” he said while calling the APC an attempt to save loot.
Senator Faraz on Sunday said that Nawaz had made similar speeches in his ‘Mujhe Kyun Nikala’ rhetoric during the 2018 election campaign.
He said that Nawaz claimed that polls were rigged but before making such statements he should remember that he remained prime minister for three times while Imran Khan has been elected premier for the first time.
“All is fine for them during their tenures but democracy is suddenly endangered when they assume a role in opposition,” the minister said, adding that Nawaz looked healthy and fine during his virtual address during the all parties conference (APC) and had mocked the judicial system after the court allowed him to go abroad for treatment. “Instead of asking the money trail of others, Nawaz should appear before courts,” he added.
Furthermore, Faraz said that the premier allowed the broadcast Nawaz’s address and had exposed the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader himself. “We believe in the independence of the media, that even criticizes the incumbent government,” he said.
Similarly, Federal Minister for Planning Asad Umar slammed Nawaz and said that the the PML-N leader must recognise that the “people actually did respect the vote in the 2018 election and used it wisely”.
“The result was that as soon as [Nawaz] was relieved of power, he had to hatch a scheme and flee the country,” he added.
Meanwhile, Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry said, “One more episode of the ‘Abu Bachao’ [save our fathers] campaign has flopped. What better proof of media freedom than the fact that Nawaz’s speech was shown live?”
Chaudhry, responding to Nawaz’s remarks regarding Pakistan being subjected to military rule for 33 years, said the PML-N supremo “was himself a part of the system for 15 years and served as a puppet”.
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Interior and Accountability Shahzad Akbar said that the “nation just heard, against the law, the live speech of a convicted criminal”.
“And then they claim that the media is not free in Pakistan! They say ‘vote ko izzat dou’ [respect the vote] and as usual, as soon as the wind blows, they abandon the voters and flee to London,” Akbar said.
The adviser also criticised Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, stating that since the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader could “only read out from a scripted speech, he is claiming ‘the former prime minister is not being allowed to speak'”.
“The whole nation is watching the real face of your former prime minister, as well as you! It seems that Sherry [Rehman] is sitting far away and was unable to correct the written speech. The opposition tried to blackmail the [government] over the FATF [Financial Action Task Force] bill,” Akbar added, terming the APC as “nothing more than a gang of fugitive criminals and accused individuals”.
Meanwhile, Governor Sindh Imran Ismail said that he has now “understood the nature of Nawaz’s illness” and that the disease “befalls those who loot the nation’s wealth and flee”.
“The patient instead of providing a money trail lashes out at NAB,” he said, adding, “Imran Khan appears in [such patients’] dreams and leaves them in a fearful state”.
Listing “signs” of the opposition’s “panic”, Senator Faisal Javed said that the government has worked to uplift several sectors of the country and that the PTI had inherited the “worst economic crisis”.