ISLAMABAD: Leaders of the country’s two major opposition parties — Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) — have described the news conference by the three government ministers against their leadership as another attempt to divert public attention from real issues and “disgrace” the government is facing in the US where Finance Minister Asad Umar is negotiating with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Minutes after the news conference by Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry, Commerce Minister Hammad Azhar and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Accountability Arbab Shehzad on Sunday in which they claimed to have obtained new evidence of involvement of PML-N and PPP leaders in money laundering, the media managers of the two opposition parties issued separate statements, blasting the government’s economic policies and accusing the rulers of politically victimising their leadership.
PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb said that in order to hide and bury the embarrassment of Finance Minister Asad Umar being refused a meeting by the US treasury secretary, the PTI had launched another attack full of lies on the members of the Sharif family.
Referring to reports that US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde did not entertain an official request by the Ministry of Finance for a meeting with the Pakistani delegation on the sidelines of the spring IMF talks in Washington, Ms Aurangzeb alleged that Fawad Chaudhry had been told to do the press conference to divert attention away from the disgrace at the hands of the US.
Opposition parties claim govt is facing ‘disgrace’ as American and IMF officials have refused to grant audience to finance minister in US
The PML-N spokesperson said she could understand Prime Minister Imran Khan’s frustration as he himself was “disqualified” to hold this office, his ministers were “severely incompetent” and with all this he couldn’t even prove a penny of corruption on the PML-N leadership as well.
Ms Aurangzeb, who had served as the information minister during the previous PML-N government, asked the prime minister to stop embarrassing his office by pointing fingers and levelling false accusations.
“You [Imran Khan] are not in the opposition now. You are the head of the country. You should prove wrongdoings with evidence instead of just whining and accusing,” she said.
“The Lying Company is back at it again, hurling bursts of lies followed by more lies packaged in the same old false narrative driven by hatred, vengeance, incompetence and political victimisation,” she went on saying.
“When will the prime minister stop taking the Pakistani people for fools and learn that the nation has figured out and rejected this distraction policy of the PTI to hide how badly this government is destroying their lives and their country,” she said.
The people of Pakistan, she said, were now only interested in knowing when would those 10 million jobs and five million homes dropped out of the sky. “They want to know how did inflation triple over three months and when will it be reversed?” she said.
Ms Aurangzeb questioned as to when would the information minister hold a press conference on these “disasters” and when would the prime minister address the nation to “apologise” over the trillion rupees corruption nightmare of Peshawar Metro.
PPP’s information secretary and MNA Dr Nafisa Shah in her reaction to the ministers’ press conference said that Fawad Chaudhry was “a robot programmed to lie”.
Dr Shah said Fawad Chaudhry needed to clarify the magical sewing machine of Aleema Khan, the sister of Imran Khan.
Dr Shah alleged that former PTI secretary general Jehangir Tareen had mastered the art of money laundering which needed to be probed. She also said the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) was under Imran Khan’s front man Shehzad Akbar which was why “NAB does not summon Aleema Khan and Rubina Khan”.
The PPP MNA called for carrying out a forensic audit of Shaukat Khanum Trust after nationalisation of Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital.
Published in Dawn, April 15th, 2019