LAHORE: The silence of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam since the death of Kulsoom Nawaz baffles the PPP leadership, said PPP Punjab President Qamar Zaman Kaira.

“Shahbaz Sharif sahib has been arrested and Mian (Nawaz) sahib is silent,” Mr Kaira wondered at a press conference here on Tuesday.

Referring to Begum Kulsoom’s death being the apparent reason for the Sharifs’ silence, he said: “Mourning should not take so long. There are national affairs also (that need to be attended to). We had continued with our politics despite the martyrdom of [Benazir Bhutto]. If Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz are silent because of their grief, should one construe that Shahbaz and Hamza don’t share the grief since they’re actively doing politics?” he questioned in response to a query.

Flanked by PPP General Secretary Chaudhry Manzoor and Information Secretary Syed Hassan Murtaza and Munawwar Anjum, Mr Kaira said the opposition wanted the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government to complete its term though rifts within the ruling party in Punjab were creating difficulties for it.

He told a questioner that former president Asif Ali Zardari had always struggled for the country and democracy and did politics of tolerance and reconciliation. Unlike the PML-N, the PPP had never contested the cases against its leadership though the party workers were ready to take to the streets if and when the leadership gave a call for it.

Mr Kaira regretted that the government was linking Mr Zardari with the fake bank accounts without any evidence, saying the PPP dared it to investigate and close down all such accounts. He said the government was levelling corruption allegations in press conferences, but not forwarding the cases to investigation agencies along with evidences so that courts could decide them.

“We want the accountability process to continue and are ready to support the government in this respect.”

Mr Manzoor recalled that former PTI leader Jehangir Tareen had also been found depositing money in bank accounts he had got opened in the names of his cooks and drivers. If law was the same for all, when would Mr Tareen be sent behind bars? he asked.

He said even Prime Minister Imran Khan’s sister Aleema Khan allegedly owned properties in Dubai though she had no known sources of income for purchasing the same.

Mr Murtaza said that the PPP would vote for PML-N candidates in the Senate by-polls because its leadership had admitted and apologised for its past attitude on the floor of the House.

Calling Shahzad Akbar ‘Ehtesabur Rehman’ of the present era (in reference to Saifur Rehman, who was the accountability body chief in Nawaz Sharif’s second term as the premier), he taunted PM Khan to at least bring back “his children from the Jews” if he could not bring back the allegedly laundered money stashed in banks abroad.

Published in Dawn, November 14th, 2018

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