ISLAMABAD: PML-N Vice-President Maryam Nawaz has downplayed the ongoing discussion on the recent remarks made by PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari about her party’s narrative and said the party had no reservations over it.
Talking informally to reporters at Islamabad International Airport soon after her arrival from Gilgit-Baltistan on Saturday, Maryam Nawaz said that Bilawal’s statement was being misinterpreted by those who wanted to create ‘cracks’ within the opposition’s alliance.
In his interview to the BBC Urdu on Friday, PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari had said that he was ‘shocked’ when he heard PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif naming the military leadership in his address at the PDM’s rally in Gujranwala for allegedly orchestrating his ouster from office.
Maryam Nawaz said: “Bilawal’s statement was clear. Its misinterpretation is the need of few people. Since (the government’s) boat is sinking so they are trying to create cracks within the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM).”
She and Bilawal and their parties knew those who were behind this move, she added.
Responding to a question, she said Nawaz Sharif would definitely return to Pakistan which was his final destination.
In response to another query, Ms Nawaz alleged that rigging had already been done in the Gilgit-Baltistan elections. She, however, expressed the hope that despite this, the PML-N would win the GB elections as the party had served the region and its people.
In reply to a question during PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari had said the PML-N supremo, who had thrice served as the prime minister, should not have taken the names of (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa and (ISI chief) Gen Faiz Hameed without any evidence.
“These are not the kind of allegations you should make against anyone in a rally,” Mr Bhutto Zardari had said while giving the interview in GB where he has been running his party’s campaign for the Nov 15 elections.
In his speech livestreamed from London, Nawaz had questioned who made the “state above a state” and who was responsible for two parallel governments in the country, going on to name Gen Bajwa. He had also named Gen Faiz as being behind his ouster as premier and for “bringing Imran Khan into power”.
The PPP chairman made it clear that when the agenda for the 11-party opposition alliance was being prepared, the PML-N supremo or other leaders of his party did not bring up the matter of naming the army or ISI chiefs in public meetings. Instead, he said, it was decided at the multiparty conference that “a single institution would not be named” though the establishment would when it was debated whether the blame should be laid on one institution or the entire establishment.
He went on to say that when he explicitly heard Nawaz take the names of army and ISI chiefs, “it was a shock for me because, typically, we don’t talk like this at rallies. But Nawaz heads his own party and I can’t control what he says, just like he can’t control what I say.”
Reacting to the Bilawal’s interview, Federal Minister for Information Shibli Faraz had said the interview was proof of the fact that the PDM was not united in its stance.
“Bilawal has voiced his distrust of Nawaz. This proves that the alliance of opposition parties is based on vested interests,” he added.
Similarly, in a tweet, Special Assistant to the Punjab Chief Minister and former PM’s aide Firdous Ashiq Awan said: “Bilawal’s statement is the final nail in the opposition’s alliance coffin. It’s clear now that Bhutto-Zardari has distanced himself from PML-N’s narrative.”
In a statement issued shortly after Bilawal’s interview, Mohamamd Zubair, who is a spokesperson for Nawaz Sharif, said the PML-N respected Bilawal as he was a part of the alliance and termed it Bilawal’s personal opinion.
Published in Dawn, November 8th, 2020