PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz categorically rejected a dialogue with the current government, saying that she did not recognise it or the “fake” government of PM Imran Khan.
Flanked by PML-N leaders Javed Hashmi and Pervaiz Rashid, Maryam said that for the first time over the past 72 years of Pakistan’s history, Punjab had not surrendered to the “establishment”.
“Did you see how, over the past few days when stones were pelted outside NAB office and cases were filed, how the workers went to jail instead of the leaders [of the PML-N]?” she asked.
She said that those who were trying to use underhanded tactics to pressurise the government would fail because the PML-N is “united and its vote bank has increased and those who love Nawaz Sharif have also increased”.
Maryam said that the incumbent government was so weak that it will not be able to complete its tenure. “This government is so weak that it will fall on its face before its tenure ends,” she said, adding that all that was required to send the current set-up packing was one push.
Lashing out at PM Imran Khan, Maryam referred to him as a “weak” and “inept person” who is unable to manage the affairs of the state and as a result, tells institutions to deal with the crises instead.
“There will come a time when even the institutions will tell you to fight your cases yourself, don’t use us” she said. “That time has come now.”
Responding to a question on whether or not she will opt for dialogue to resolve the current stand-off between the government and the opposition, Maryam categorically said she would not.
“I am not ready to recognise such a government, and you talk of me having a dialogue with them,” she responded, blaming the incumbent government and other elements for hijacking elections 2018 and not believing in the Constitution.
“Neither does I recognise this fake prime minister, neither do I recognise this government nor this set-up. We should have called out this set-up since day one. However, it’s never too late,” she said.
In response to a question about Khawaja Asif’s statement on Asif Ali Zardari, Maryam said that Nawaz had already spoken on the matter and his speech had gone live in front of the world. However, she said that Nawaz believes in ensuring unity and harmony between all parties part of the PDM, whether it be the PPP or the JUI-F.
Nawaz had earlier called out the incumbent government for what he termed its “dual standards of accountability”, saying that he can “no longer remain quiet” on the matter.
He was addressing a PML-N central working committee meeting via a video link from London.
“Nawaz Sharif is not made of the kind of stuff that can stand remaining quiet on dual standards of accountability,” he said, adding that “no one should try to silence him”.
He said that although Prime Minister Imran Khan “is to blame” for the country’s current state, “it is those who brought him into power who are truly responsible”.
“They will have to answer,” Nawaz had said.
As he began his address, he spoke of how it had been a long time since such an address had taken place. “I am addressing you all after a long time. And in these two-and-a-half years we have all endured much.”
“But it is with God’s grace we are seeing each other now,” Nawaz said.
“When I look at the state the country is in, it saddens me deeply,” the former prime minister said. “We were on such a great path to progress and look at where we are now.”
Nawaz had said he sees a world of a difference between the Pakistan of a few years ago and the one before us now. “I do not understand why this has happened.”
“We were so prosperous until 2018. Our tenure lasted 2013-2018 and with your prayers and God’s mercy and your support from 2013-2017, I was prime minister,” he said.
“Me and my team who are sitting here and also those not here, such as Shahbaz Sharif who is in jail, paying for crimes not committed — together, we were changing the fate of Pakistan.”
“These are not empty words, you yourself have witnessed the fruits of our efforts,” Nawaz said.