Nawaz’s voice echoing across country despite ban on speeches: Maryam

Updated 25 Oct 2020

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PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz  addresses the media on Saturday. — DawnNewsTV
PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz addresses the media on Saturday. — DawnNewsTV

PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz on Saturday said that despite a ban on airing party supremo Nawaz Sharif's speeches in Pakistan, his voice and slogan of vote ko izzat do (respect the vote) is echoing through the country.

She was speaking to the media in Quetta, where she has arrived for the third rally of the opposition's 11-party alliance — Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) — tomorrow.

"The reality is that despite silencing him, Nawaz Sharif's is the sole voice that is echoing in Pakistan. He is the only political personality, who despite not being in this country, being ill and in London, is shining on the land and sky of the country," she said.

"There is only one face that the public can see, in which they are trying to find the solution for their problems and considering their messiah after Allah."

While speaking at the home of former provincial minister Jaffar Khan Mandokhail, who announced joining the PML-N, Maryam said it was the "best time" to join the party, adding that the 11 parties in the PDM had broken the "chains of fear" and tried to build a defence against "tyranny".

"This is the first time that the public has not only broken the chains and named those who have kept the nation in fear for 72 years but also called for their accountability," she said while paying tribute to the people.

Talking about Nawaz's narrative, Maryam said that he had made just a few speeches so far.

"His eye-opener speech was the one in Gujranwala. In that speech, he said a few things towards the end which some people should really fear.

"They should not fear the facts that Mian sahab mentioned. They should be afraid because when he said those things, the hundreds and thousands of workers listening inside [Jinnah Bagh] and outside, the way they reacted, the way they said labbaik — that is very fearful for some people," she said.

She added that the public reaction was not only giving proof of Pakistan's future but also showing the way to it. Nawaz Sharif only talked about the "state above the state" but the practical demonstration was seen less than two days later, she said.

"The way the IG (inspector general) was kidnapped, the way they attacked the hotel and my room. The people of Balochistan can understand what the mental condition of your opponent is when the rooms of the nation's daughters and sisters are broken into. They gave a practical demonstration of what a state above a state is."

Maryam also criticised Prime Minister Imran Khan who she said had "completely disappeared from Pakistani politics and government activities", citing this as an example of a "state above the state".

The PML-N leader alleged that while Imran Khan had levelled allegations against the opposition, he did not know what happened in the "Karachi incident" and who did it.

She said that the Sindh government not only knew everything but also timely exposed the plot. "The respected people of Sindh, who are represented by the Sindh Police, not only exposed the state above the state and an attack on the province but also defeated them. [The police officials] submitted their applications for leave and said we cannot work under these conditions."

Maryam said that the PML-N respected police officials even if the state did not. The people's mandate and decision should be respected under any condition, she stressed.

She claimed that the PTI government, even if it was "selected" would have lasted longer if it served the people "but it adopted tyranny".

"People are cursing the government because it has stolen roti from them and made medicines so expensive," she said.

Maryam also talked about the "kidnapping" of Geo News reporter Ali Imran, who she alleged was "picked up" because he aired footage of her husband retired Captain Mohammad Safdar's arrest from a Karachi hotel last week.

"What kind of justice is this? Till when will you pressure judges into becoming Arshad Malik, kidnapping journalists to get stories you want [and] interfering in politics?" she questioned.

'Karachi incident'

On Oct 20, a day after Maryam's husband retired Captain Mohammad Safdar was arrested and released on bail, Sindh inspector general of police, at least two additional inspectors general, seven deputy inspectors general and six senior superintendents applied for leave in order to "come out of […] shock" caused by the "episode of registration of FIR against Capt (R) Safdar".

Addressing a press conference soon after media began reporting the leaves en masse, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari termed the manner in which Safdar was arrested as "shameful", saying he could not condemn it enough.

"I am ashamed [and] unable to show my face over what has taken place in my province," he added.

Bilawal said all top officers of Sindh Police were wondering "who were the people who surrounded" the Sindh police chief's house in the early hours of Oct 19 and took him to an unspecified location before Safdar was arrested.

He also demanded to know the identities of "the two people who went inside the IG's house" and where they allegedly took the police chief at around 4am.

Shortly after Bilawal's presser, Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa took notice of and ordered an immediate inquiry into the "Karachi incident".

He directed the Karachi Corps Commander to "immediately inquire into the circumstances to determine the facts and report back as soon as possible", according to the statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations.