–Maryam again rejects call for inquiry into Safdar arrest episode
–PML-N leader says proof of “state above the state” in “premier’s disappearance from political scene”
LAHORE: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) vice president Maryam Nawaz on Saturday said that party supremo Nawaz Sharif’s popularity is on the rise as seen by the reaction to his speeches in Pakistan, his voice and slogan of vote ko izzat do despite a ban.
She was speaking to the media on her arrival in Quetta where she is due to address the third rally of the opposition’s 11-party alliance — Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) on Sunday.
“The reality is that despite silencing him, Nawaz Sharif’s is the sole voice that is echoing in Pakistan. He is the only political personality, who despite not being in this country, being ill and in London, is shining on the land and sky of the country. There is only one face that the public can see, in which they are trying to find the solution for their problems and considering their messiah after Allah,” she said.
She added that the public was aware of the country’s political atmosphere and was in favour of her father.
“Nawaz Sharif only talked about the “state above the state” but the practical demonstration was seen less than two days later,” she said.
Criticising Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan, she said that he had “completely disappeared from Pakistani politics and government activities”, terming it an example of a “state above the state”.
Speaking about Nawaz’s narrative, she said, “His eye-opener speech was the one in Gujranwala. In that speech, he said a few things towards the end which some people should really fear. They should not fear the facts that Mian sahab mentioned. They should be afraid because when he said those things, the hundreds and thousands of workers listening inside [Jinnah Bagh] and outside, the way they reacted, the way they said labbaik — that is very fearful for some people,” she said.
Earlier while addressing newsmen in Lahore before leaving for Quetta, the PML-N leader had said that there was no need for an inquiry into the events surrounding the arrest of her husband retired Capt Safdar Awan and the subsequent military inquiry into it on the directive of Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa.
Karachi police arrested Safdar from his hotel room early Monday morning for shouting political slogans inside the mausoleum the previous day, a crime punishable by regulations governing the premises. The arrest was made after a First Information Report (FIR) was registered against him last Sunday for breaking the protocol and hurling murder threats at some individuals. The court granted him bail the same day.
The following day, Gen Bajwa while taking notice of the incident, directed the Karachi Corps Commander to hold an immediate inquiry into the arrest.
Commenting on the arrest episode, Maryam said that while there was no need for an inquiry, the Sindh government has the “right” to inquire about the arrest.
Maryam has been dismissive of the idea of an inquiry into the arrest since day one. A day earlier, Minister for Information and Broadcast Shibli Faraz had criticised her for what he said was a discombobulated stance: “On one hand, Maryam says there is no need for an inquiry. Then she says she will present herself if an inquiry is conducted.”
While referring to Prime Minister Imran Khan during her talk, she said: “You are sitting in the PM House. You should care about your respect. After kidnapping the Sindh IG, you have been humiliated.”
“You want to hide your mistakes, but it will not happen,” she declared.
She said that the Sindh government not only knew everything but also timely exposed the plot. “The respected people of Sindh, who are represented by the Sindh Police, not only exposed the state above the state and an attack on the province but also defeated them. Police officials submitted their applications for leave and said we cannot work under these conditions.”
She added that the PML-N respected police officials even if the state did not, stressing that the people’s mandate and the decision should be respected under any condition.
While speaking at the home of former provincial minister Jaffar Khan Mandokhail, who announced joining the PML-N, Maryam said it was the “best time” to join the party, adding that the 11 parties in the PDM had broken the “chains of fear” and tried to build a defence against “tyranny”.
“This is the first time that the public has not only broken the chains and named those who have kept the nation in fear for 72 years but also called for their accountability,” she said while paying tribute to the people.
“The way the IG (inspector general) was kidnapped, the way they attacked the hotel and my room. The people of Balochistan can understand what the mental condition of your opponent is when the rooms of the nation’s daughters and sisters are broken into. They gave a practical demonstration of what a state above a state is.”
Maryam also talked about the “kidnapping” of Geo News reporter Ali Imran, who she alleged was “picked up” because he aired footage of her husband retired Captain Mohammad Safdar’s arrest from a Karachi hotel last week.
“What kind of justice is this? Till when will you pressure judges into becoming Arshad Malik, kidnapping journalists to get stories you want [and] interfering in politics?” she questioned.
Maryam further said the opposition alliance has spread across the country. “Imran Khan [is the one who] needs a National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO), not us,” she claimed.
Maryam also said that while the government focuses on the opposition, inflation is rising in the country and basic food items such as sugar and flour are in short supply in the market.