Nawaz's 'Indian narrative will not sell', says Asad Umar

Published October 18, 2020
Planning Minister Asad Umar addresses the media in Karachi. — DawnNewsTV
Planning Minister Asad Umar addresses the media in Karachi. — DawnNewsTV

Planning Minister Asad Umar on Sunday lashed out at PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif for "selling India's narrative" and speaking against state institutions.

Addressing the media in Karachi, flanked by Maritime Affairs Minister Ali Zaidi, the PTI leader said that while the former premier criticises national institutions so openly, he has never raised his voice against human rights violations in India or spoken about Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav.

"This Indian narrative that you are selling, this will not sell, neither in Pakistan nor across the world. You and India can level any allegation against state institutions you want," Umar said and asked why Indian premier Narendra Modi — who oversaw a massacre of Muslims in Indian Gujrat in 2005 when he was the chief minister — visited Nawaz's house.

The planning minister further said while Nawaz's supporters insist that the former prime minister only have issues with a few army officials and not the entire institution, the former premier's relationship with generals during his past three tenures had always been thorny.

Umar said that Nawaz had spoken against the army and its intelligence wing because he could not get an NRO.

"When Supreme Court disqualified you (Nawaz), you toured the entire Punjab [...] chanting mujhe kium nikala (why was I ousted). The army chief you were [criticising] was the same one [as now]. But when last year, a bill was tabled for the extension of the same army chief, you told your party MNAs to vote in favour? If Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa did so much against you, why did you vote for his extension?"

The federal minister said that PML-N leaders had met the army chief to secure an NRO for Nawaz and themselves.

"After your blackmailing failed and FATF laws were passed as well, you sent an envoy to the same army chief [you criticised]. This did not happen a decade or months back, this happened a few weeks ago. And your envoy told us that '[the army chief] is my old friend and I went to play ludo with him'.

"He enjoyed playing ludo so much that he went again a week later [...] And then he found out that DG ISI enjoyed ludo as well so you arranged a meeting with him as well," Umar said, referring to a meeting between the army chief and PML-N leader Mohammad Zubair, who is also Umar's brother.

"You sent an envoy to beg for an NRO for yourself and your daughter," Umar said and added that Nawaz started speaking out against the military after he "failed" to secure an NRO. The minister urged the opposition "not to drag institutions into politics".

Umar's press conference came shortly before a major rally, arranged by the opposition alliance Pakistan Democratic Movement, kicked off in Karachi.

The first power show of the PDM was held in Gujranwala on Friday, where Nawaz also delivered a speech via video link from London. In his speech at the Gujranwala public meeting, Nawaz had accused Army Chief Gen Bajwa and ISI chief Lt Gen Faiz Hameed of being behind his ouster as prime minister and of "bringing Imran Khan into power", among other things.

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