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PESHAWAR: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz president Shahbaz Sharif on Friday termed Imran Khan’s recent public meetings ‘a total failure’ and said PML-N workers were fully charged to run the election campaign of their candidates against all odds.

He said Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chief Imran Khan was busy levelling baseless allegations and using derogatory language against other parties. People were no more willing to attend Mr Khan’s public meetings, said Mr Shahbaz while addressing a press conference after visiting Bilour House where he offered condolences to the Bilour family over the death of Awami National Party (ANP) candidate Haroon Bilour in a recent blast.

PTI will use any strategy to defeat PML-N, win the elections: Imran on 'electables', seat adjustments

The PML-N president said his rivals were eating cakes and pastries while his party candidates were being pressured to switch loyalties due to National Accountability Bureau (NAB) cases. He said PML-N leaders were attending courts as his party was being pushed to the wall while others were running election campaigns.

Visits Bilour House to offer condolences; addresses election rally in Swat

He alleged that the Punjab government was following instructions of the PTI. It mishandled peaceful PML-N workers on July 13, booked them in terrorism cases for holding rallies to welcome their leader Nawaz Sharif, he said.

The former chief minister of Punjab said Nawaz Sharif knew he would be sent behind bars yet he returned to Pakistan leaving his ailing wife in a serious condition in a London hospital. This proved he did not want to flee as he faced all the cases instituted against him, said Mr Shahbaz, claiming that the entire world also witnessed the ‘mammoth rally’ to welcome the former premier.

He alleged that TV channels under Pakistan Electro­nic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) pressure did not give proper coverage to the rally. While the PML-N supremo was not even allowed to meet his ailing mother, PML-N workers remained peaceful, he said. Yet they were booked in cases, he said, adding that the party wrote a letter to the Election Commission of Pakistan and the caretaker prime minister to take notice of the cases but they remained silent spectators.

Mr Shahbaz said in order to ensure free, fair elections, measures must be taken to bring all stakeholders on the same page and stop all tactics for pre-poll rigging.

He said India had developed its institutions yet it was afraid of Pakistan because of its nuclear capability. He said if voted to power again, the PML-N would initiate mega development schemes on the pattern of Malaysia and Turkey to overcome poverty and unemployment.

He said that his party would win the elections and make Pakistan a ‘real’ welfare Islamic state. Paying tribute to the people in general and law enforcers in particular for rendering matchless sacrifices in the fight against terrorism, he pledged that his party would continue the efforts for durable peace and development.

Mr Shahbaz said Mr Khan, who had been condemning the PML-N government’s projects, later attempted to replicate them in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa but failed.

Imran dubbed as Facebook leader

Later addressing a public meeting in connection with his election campaign in NA-3 (Swat-II) constituency, Mr Shahbaz said Mr Khan took Rs300 billion foreign loans but failed to spend it on Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s development, adds Our Correspondent from Swat.

Mr Shahbaz said the PTI government embezzled the funds in the name of Billion Trees Tsunami and other projects such as the construction of 350 dams.

The PML-N provincial president Amir Muqam dubbed Mr Khan as ‘Facebook leader’.

Published in Dawn, July 21st, 2018