FAISALABAD – Citing poverty, unemployment and rising food and fuel prices as reasons, PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz Sharif on Saturday claimed that people are prepared to overthrow the ruling PTI government. She also said that Prime Minister Imran Khan attacked institutions by carrying out ‘suicide bombing.’
While addressing a protest rally of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), an alliance of the opposition parties, at Faisalabad’s Dhobi Ghat ground, Maryam said hit out at the PTI-led government for the hike in prices of utilities and petroleum products.
She said, “There was a man named Imran Khan, who used to say when flour becomes expensive, when sugar prices rise, when rates of electricity and petrol rise, know that your Prime Minister is a thief.”
“So who is the thief now?” she asked a charged crowd. Maryam also criticised the government for the dengue outbreak, particularly in Punjab.
The PML-N leader said the prime minister had fulfilled only one promise that he would “make everyone cry” and today, “the entire nation is crying”.
“The entire world is facing coronavirus, but now because of their government’s incompetence, people are dying of dengue,” she said. “There is no one here like Shehbaz Sharif who used to visit hospitals,” Maryam added.
Further criticising the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government, Maryam said it had failed to provide electricity to people during summer and gas during winter. “This is where this government stands,” she added. “And then, Imran Khan used to call Nawaz Sharif a thief. But time has proved there’s not a man more honest than Nawaz Sharif or Shehbaz Sharif in Pakistan’s history.”
The PML-N Vice President went on to say that the PTI government had deliberately delayed the procurement of the liquefied natural gas and bought the commodity at a high price. The PML-N leader also lashed out at the incumbent government for “using the NAB (National Accountability Bureau) against its opponents”.
“And when it came to their accountability, they changed the NAB law,” she said. “But no matter how hard you (PM Imran) try, your ministers will be held accountable,” Maryam added.
She also lashed out at the government over its decision to keep information about gifts received by PM Imran from foreign heads of states and governments and other dignitaries confidential.
Referring to Pandora Papers, an investigation on financial secrets held by high-profile individuals across the world, she said the name of Prime Minister Imran Khan and those of other PTI members had been included in the list of persons owning offshore companies.
“But here, the nation was told that Imran Khan’s name is not included in Pandora Papers. Have you ever heard anyone saying that the leader of a pack of thieves is an honest man?” she remarked.
Maryam questioned why there was no hue and cry over Pandora Papers, as had been witnessed following Panama Papers. The Panama Papers investigation in 2016 had linked eight off-shore companies with the family of then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Shehbaz Sharif.
She also referred to the recent controversy and speculation over the appointment of the Inter-Services Intelligence Director General, saying that Imran Khan had made a mockery of a national institution.
The PML Vice President claimed that PM Imran had not attended the recent UN General Assembly session in person because “none of the world leaders was willing to meet him”.
Also she urged the nation to “rise against the government and change your fate”. “Rise for your future generations, rise to change the fate of Pakistan,” she said. On her way to the gathering, Maryam shared videos on Twitter showing throngs of supporters welcoming her.
PDM President Maulana Fazlur Rehman also addressed the gathering after Maryam. However, PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif did not deliver a speech and was neither seen attending the rally. Earlier, the PML-N’s official spokesperson also could not confirm his participation.
Speaking on the occasion, PDM chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman said the Opposition alliance aims to make Pakistan a peaceful country.
“The PDM will hold you [the government] accountable,” he said, adding that the Opposition has challenged “dictators and their follower” before.
The JUI-F chief questioned the PTI-led government over its move to drop a “petrol bomb” on the nation, asking what the fault of the common man was that they had to do such a thing.
“Today, the survival of states depends on the economy,” Fazl said, adding that an economic war has once again begun around the world. The government has “destroyed” the economy of Pakistan, he said.
The PDM chief stated that the Parliament, which represents the people, has been rendered “unstable”. “What role will the parliament play when the people of Pakistan are forced to commit suicide?” he asked.
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