'India gets happy when votes are stolen in Pakistan,' Maryam responds to PM's allegation against Nawaz
PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz on Wednesday responded to Prime Minister Imran Khan's allegation that her father, former premier Nawaz Sharif, has India's backing, saying what actually makes India happy is when "the votes are stolen in Pakistan".
In an interview on Samaa TV last week, Prime Minister Imran had said he was "100 per cent" sure that India was helping Nawaz, who in recent weeks has levelled serious allegations of political interference against the armed forces.
Speaking at a press conference after a meeting with a delegation led by Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Maryam said the premier had stated that the opposition and Nawaz's allegations would make India happy.
But she said "the rule of law and the Constitution does not make India happy. India gets happy when you hand over Kashmir to India in a tray; when an FIR is registered against the Azad Kashmir prime minister; when sedition cases are filed against former prime ministers and politicians.
"India gets happy when the votes are stolen in Pakistan and when a weak government is imposed upon us," she added.
She asked the government not to play the "sedition card" if it had no answers to the opposition's criticism.
The PML-N leader said her party and the opposition did not target national institutions, and instead accused Prime Minister Imran of "dragging institutions into politics" and directing the Federal Investigation Agency to register cases against her and Nawaz.
Earlier addressing the news conference, Fazl said the opposition's Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) would make every effort to give a "legitimate constitutional government" to the people.
He criticised the government over alleged poor governance and said the opposition alliance wanted to become a "ray of hope" for the common man.
Fazl had called on Maryam and other PML-N leaders in Raiwind to discuss various political matters and the future of their anti-government movement.
During the meeting, Maryam congratulated Fazl for assuming the charge of the president of the PDM, saying the people were "extremely glad" at his appointment because "they had observed the energising Azaadi March" carried out under Fazl's leadership last year, according to a series of tweets by the PML-N.
She also thanked the JUI-F chief for "strongly condemning" the arrest of PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif, saying his arrest was the "addition of a black chapter in national history".
"The responsibility to pass on the trust of the Constitution to the coming generations is now on all of our shoulders," Maryam was quoted as saying.
"The protectors of Pakistan's ideological boundaries are politicians."
She said under the incumbent government, "the media is being gagged [and] Pemra, like NAB, FIA and other institutions, is being used" in order to prevent people from speaking the truth.
"The people are looking towards the PDM to rid them and the country of this torment," she added, referring to rising inflation and alleged undemocratic practices prevailing in the country.
"I think the PDM under the sincere and visionary leadership of [Fazl] will play a historic role in getting people their due rights."
PML-N spokeswoman Marriyum Aurangzeb had earlier said it would be Fazl's first meeting with the PML-N leadership as head of the PDM — an alliance of major political parties that seeks to oust the PTI-led government.
She said the meeting would discuss the situation in the country and the future course of action of the PDM as well as Shehbaz's arrest and cases of sedition against opposition leaders.
Last week, Rehman became the first president of the opposition’s PDM after his unanimous nomination by the heads of all the constituent parties during their first formal meeting through video link on October 3.
According to PDM’s steering committee convener Ahsan Iqbal, PML-N supreme leader and deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif proposed Fazl's name as the alliance president and it was endorsed by PPP chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and others.
The PDM has announced that it would formally launch its anti-government campaign with a public meeting in Gujranwala on Oct 16.
The 11-party alliance had earlier announced holding its first rally in Quetta on Oct 11.
The PDM’s steering committee at its meeting on Monday released a schedule of six public meetings in the four provinces as part of the first phase of its movement in line with decisions taken at the Sept 20 multiparty conference (MPC) in Islamabad.
The decisions taken by the committee were announced by PML-N's Ahsan Iqbal with leaders of other PDM component parties at a media briefing.
According to Iqbal, the PDM would hold its second public meeting in Karachi on Oct 18, third in Quetta on Oct 25, fourth in Peshawar on Nov 22, fifth in Multan on Nov 30 and the last one in Lahore on Dec 13.