ISLAMABAD: With the opposition claiming in the Senate on Friday that its newly forged alliance was a storm bound to sweep away the government, Information Minister Syed Shibli Faraz observed there was no room for dynastic politics in Pakistan.
Speaking in the House, he said those who used to call each other a thief in the past had got together now to evade accountability and hide their corruption.
He, however, said the dream that brought them together under the banner of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) would never come true. “Your game is over. You will never return to the corridors of power again,” he remarked.
He also said that the opposition only represented the ‘two family limited companies’ or ‘two royal families’ who considered it their right to rule the country.
He said the Punjab government was facilitating the participants of the PDM rally by providing them with masks and hand sanitizers. He asked the government to also provide handkerchiefs to them so that those who used to hurl serious allegations against each other could hide their faces.
Mr Faraz said he challenged the opposition to fill Jinnah Stadium in Gujranwala, and said noticing that it was not possible for them to pull crowd they had turned half of the stadium into a stage.
Opposition slams govt for convening parliament sessions
He said the opposition senators in their speeches gave the impression that they had never been in the government. He recalled that the two main opposition parties — Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and Pakistan Peoples Party — had been ruling the country for decades. When they were in power, they never talked about giving respect to the vote. “They have always respected (currency) note and not vote”, he remarked. The nation was aware of the people who had now become ideological to serve their own interests, he noted.
Mr Faraz accused these parties of ruining the institutions and economy of the country. He said all the corrupt had joined hands against an honest prime minster. He, however, made it clear that their tactics could not dampen Prime Minister Imran Khan’s unwavering resolve to stamp out corruption.
Responding to the opposition’s criticism over price-hike, he said responsibility lay on the previous rulers who brought institutions to collapse.
He said the country’s economy had now been stabilised and good days were not far away. He said it was not possible to clear overnight the mess created for decades.
Rejecting the allegations that the 2018 election had been rigged, he asked the opposition as to how many election petitions had been filed. He pointed out that in the last election the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf lost as many as 16 seats by a margin ranging between 50 and 2,500 votes.
He said when Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s son won the elections there was nothing wrong, but they cried foul when they lost an electoral battle. He noted that this was height of hypocrisy and double standard.
Rally in Gujranwala
Earlier, Parliamentary Leader of the PML-N in the House Senator Mushahid Ullah Khan on a point of public importance accused the government of summoning the sessions of the Senate and National Assembly to “use the parliament against rallies of the opposition”. He said that it remained a tradition in the past that the government either refrained from summoning the parliament or adjourned it for a day when such events were scheduled. He accused the government of trying to use the parliament against the political rally in Gujranwala.
“If the opposition (rally) turns out to be a big success then who will be the loser,” questioned the PML-N senator and advised the government not to use the parliament for “political purposes”. He said that the opposition parties’ alliance, PDM, was like a storm.
He also mentioned the protests of government employees at Islamabad’s D-Chowk and said that they were protesting because of the rising inflation in the country.
He said doctors, lawyers, teachers, industrialists and traders had staged protests against the government.
He regretted that those responsible for increase in the prices of wheat flour and medicines had been promoted.
Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) Senator Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri also questioned the urgency of summoning sessions of both houses of the parliament on a day when the opposition’s rally was going to be held. He said that the people from all walks of life were protesting against the flawed policies of the government and rising inflation.
He said PM Khan had promised that he would prefer committing suicide over seeking a bailout package from the International Monetary Fund. “He should at least fulfil this promise to provide some relief to the masses,” he remarked.
Leader of the House in the Senate Dr Shahzad Waseem in his response said that it was strange that the opposition while using the name of democracy had questioned the government for summoning both the houses of the parliament and was doing politics within this institution. He said the opposition said it was at war with those who brought the PTI to power. “That means you have declared a war against the masses who voted the party to power,” he remarked.
He said former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in London was saying that their tussle was with the state institutions, including the army. He stressed the need for strengthening democracy and state institutions.
He chided the opposition for gathering under the same banner while having serious differences.
Published in Dawn, October 17th, 2020