LAHORE: Ahead of the combined opposition’s Multi-Party Conference (MPC) on Sunday (today), Punjab Information Minister Fayyazul Hassan Chohan has criticised opposition leaders, saying they are getting together to protect their loot, plunder and money laundering.

Quoting Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-F President Maulana Fazalur Rehman that the opposition is looking for halwa from the government’s plate, Mr Chohan said Prime Minister Imran Khan considers national kitty his responsibility and added, “Mr Khan will neither ‘eat’ anything nor allow anyone else to cast a malicious eye on the national exchequer.”

He said Mr Rehman would not get any halwa but would only face harsh accountability.

“The combined opposition has failed to blackmail the PTI government during the passage of FATF bills and now as a last ditch effort, it’s trying to build pressure on the government – to Nawaz Sharif and Asif Zardari,” Mr Chohan told reporters at an expo on Raiwind Road on Saturday.

“Maryam Nawaz has damaged everything wherever she tries to give her input. If she participates in the MPC, Ms Maryam will harm the combined opposition too.”

About former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s participation in the MPC via video-link, the minister said Mr Sharif was a convict and an absconder and his interference in the affairs of the State of Pakistan would draw strong repercussions. Even Maryam Nawaz is a convict and her any action against the writ of the state would result in repercussions she would not be able to handle them, he warned.

Predicting the failure of the MPC, Mr Chohan asserted that the opposition leaders caught in corruption, loot and money-laundering cases would not be able to get any relief.

He said opposition parties also tried in the last two years that the NAB be deleted from the FATF bills but to no avail.

“NAB investigated and exposed massive money in the bank accounts of faloodaywala, papperwalaas well as Nisar Gill, Masroor Gill from the chief minister’s secretariat working on the lines of known characters Ayan Ali and Teefi Butt,” he said.

About Nawaz Sharif’s call to opposition leaders not to appear before NAB and instead launch “Jail Bharo movement”, the information minister said Mr Sharif should himself launch the by sending his sons Hassan Nawaz, Husain Nawaz, Shahbaz Sharif’s son Salman Shahbaz, son-in-law Ali Imran, former finance minister Ishaq Dar and his son Ali Dar to jail.

Responding to Chohan’s presser, PML-N Punjab information secretary Azma Bukhari said the PTI government’s spokespersons were getting red-faced over the holding of the opposition MPC.

Stating that Mr Chohan seemed quite disturbed, she stressed that he should look after his own party as most of his colleagues were now neither accepting Imran Khan as prime minister and Usman Buzdar as chief minister. She said Chohan and his leader would soon be caught too.

Rebutting Chohan’s statement that Imran Khan neither ‘eat’ nor allow anyone to ‘eat’, Ms Bukhari said PM Imran Khan ‘do eat’ and ‘let others eat’ and cited the escape of Khan’s biggest ATM Jahangir Tareen and his son abroad as one such example.

Published in Dawn, September 20th, 2020