ISLAMABAD: Mocking opposition parties over what he called hurling empty threats of resigning from the assemblies, Information Minister Senator Shibli Faraz on Wednesday dared them to quit the National Assembly or the Senate.
Addressing a news conference here at the Press Information Department (PID), he said the Pakistan Democratic Alliance (PDM) had played its cards too early and it was now ruing the announcement.
“The announcement to resign from the assemblies was a fake and empty threat by the PDM,” the minister said, wondering: “Why would the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) resign from the Sindh Assembly… because they are in power there and the only party that is in power?”
The minister said the opposition parties were planning to create a law and order situation in the garb of public rallies. They might be seeking to see some serious crisis, including fatalities as a result of clashes, only to destabilise the government, he said, adding that “we will not give the opposition this chance; they are the ones who killed people in the Model Town operation”.
The minister started the news conference by slamming the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and showed footage of PML-N supreme leader Nawaz Sharif and PPP co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari when both abused each other. He said the two parties did not have any ideological common ground and political agenda, but were together only to protect their ill-gotten wealth.
Insists opposition is hurling empty threats over quitting legislatures
“They do not have any plan for the welfare or progress of the nation,” he said, adding: “They have plundered the country and made false promises of upgrading Pakistan to the level of Paris, but the fact is that they have brought Pakistan to the level of Somalia.”
He recalled the mistreatment faced by former prime minister Benazir Bhutto at the hands of the PML-N.
“Who gave this name of ‘Mr 10 per cent’ to Mr Zardari? They even rejoiced at the hanging of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Whatever their concerns are we have nothing to do with that. Did we frame NAB laws? You could have amended these laws by yourself,” he said.
When the PML-N was in power it enjoyed using these powers only to pressurise the PPP, he added.
The minister also responded to criticism of the government by the opposition parties and said their politics was based on hypocrisy. “They always say who is asking for NRO and then repeat if the prime minister can even give an NRO.
“We decided not to give any NRO. It was possible when FATF (Financial Action Task Force) laws were being finalised, but we did not compromise… we could have adopted the old political tradition of taking everybody on board, but we deplore this strategy as it has led the country to its current sorry state,” he added.
Mr Faraz said Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman was taking the opposition parties to a blind alley. “He was taking his revenge from both the PPP and PML-N because they had deceived him during his protest sit-in in Islamabad in November last year when the leaders of these two parties came to his sit-in only to deliver speeches,” he added.
The minister announced holding a separate press conference over the political conduct of the JUI-F chief on Friday. He alleged that the Maulana had been silent for two years because he was trying to make a deal, but when he failed he came out on roads in desperation. He will show his last card of giving resignations.
In reply to a question about government’s moves to stop the PDM rally in Lahore, the minister said all such rallies were illegal and their organisers would be dealt in accordance with the law.
“This is responsibility of the government to protect the lives of citizens and at the same time a question arises: is it not responsibility of the opposition to protect citizens from the spread of coronavirus?” he asked, adding that the opposition was bent upon damaging the country, its people and economy.
Published in Dawn, December 11th, 2020