–Qureshi rejects allegations on foreign policy, CPEC; Shibli says Sharif not used to fair polls: Asad terms opposition to FATF legislation regrettable; Fawad says Nawaz turned against institutions to save corruption
ISLAMABAD: The product of Sunday’s anti-government conference was a forum known as Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), which plans on removing the incumbent government, and in reply, top government ministers held a press conference on Monday, wherein they lashed out at the opposition for dragging institutions into politics.
Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif had attended the conference via video-link and broke his two-year silence, saying that their battle was against the system which allowed the current PM into power.
“Our foremost priority should be removing this selected government and this system. Our struggle is not against Imran Khan,” said Nawaz. “Today, our struggle is against those who installed Imran Khan and who manipulated elections to bring an incapable man like him into power and thus, destroyed the country.”
Responding to his allegations in a joint press conference with Planning Minister Asad Umar, and Minister for Science and Technology Chaudhry Fawad Hussain on Monday, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Shibli Faraz said, “The elections in which he was elected the prime minister thrice were right but because in this one he was unable to form the government, he is raising these questions.”
He claimed that the opposition parties were making the state of democracy controversial for their own gain. The minister added, “they are not helping the democracy and are trying to discredit a political setup which they claim to own.”
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi asked the opposition to refrain from dragging national institutions into politics as it will not serve the interest of Pakistan.
He rejected the opposition’s objections on foreign policy of the country, saying that the entire world is acknowledging Pakistan’s role as facilitator in the Afghan peace process. Qureshi said that it is a great achievement that now intra-Afghan negotiations have begun for lasting peace in the country.
Regarding the Kashmir issue, the foreign minister said that PM Imran has vociferously raised the issue of Jammu and Kashmir at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), world human rights bodies and other global forums.
He said that it seems strange that on the one hand, the opposition is criticising the government’s Kashmir policy; while on the other, they had supported the government to get passed resolutions on Kashmir unanimously from the parliament.
Refuting the opposition’s claim that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is being rolled back, Qureshi said that all the projects of CPEC are rolling on and will be completed within the stipulated time period.
Planning Minister Asad Umar said that Prime Minister Imran stated at the start of his government’s tenure that “the opposition has everything at stake … and when accountability moves forward they will all get together,” adding that yesterday’s All Parties’ Conference (APC) was a manifestation of the premier’s “words coming true”.
He said the opposition had hoped that “the economic recession they left behind would be enough to oust the government” but the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government brought the country out of the economic crisis.
“Then came the global coronavirus crisis. If you look at the initial days these leaders had a lot of enthusiasm [and] some came running back from London in the hopes that destruction and devastation would befall Pakistan, and [they] would make that the basis of finishing the government,” he added.
“What I found entertaining in yesterday’s speech was that the people who did not leave a single thing to criticise in Pakistan, did not mention coronavirus,” he further said.
Asad said that the opposition is doing all these gimmicks to protect its corruption and properties. He regretted the approach adopted by the opposition for personal gains. He said that the opposition’s narrative is very close to anti-Pakistan forces. He added that unfortunately, the opposition has waged a war on state institutions, including the military, judiciary, and National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for not acting to its dictates.
The minister accused the opposition of using the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) bills to manipulate the incumbent government into obtaining an NRO, adding that the FAFT bills had “nothing to do with a political party or person and are only for keeping us out of the blacklist.”
“But even in that, they were defeated. They cannot even control 200 members in the Senate and National Assembly, so their panic reached another level,” the minister said, adding that the passage of the anti-money laundering law had also unnerved opposition members because “their properties are now in danger”.
Asad said one should keep in mind that democratic system is fully functioning in Pakistan, while civilian and the military leadership is collectively working hard to take the country forward. He said that the government and the military are collaborating in all matters, including Covid-19, locust attack, realisation of Karachi transformational programme, and development in Balochistan.
Minister for Science and Technology Chaudhry Fawad Hussain said the government has set new traditions of tolerance by allowing live broadcast of speeches of opposition leaders. He said that Nawaz wanted to use institutions to protect his corruption and on refusal he used to turn against them, which is evident from the fact that the former prime minister had failed to develop working relationships with any army chief during his three terms as chief executive of the country.
The PDM was formed as a result of the APC held in the federal capital on Sunday. It presented a six-point action plan to remove the incumbent government, that will be carried out in phases in October, December, and January.