PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz on Wednesday lashed out at the government for playing "musical chairs" with the federal cabinet and questioned why the premier assumed office when he wasn't prepared for the challenges.
Addressing the Pakistan Democratic Movement's (PDM) 'Mehangai March' in Mardan, she said: "Before the election, [the prime minister] used to say that he has a team of 200 fantastic individuals. Where is that 200-person team now?
"Ministers in his cabinet play musical chairs with each other [...] but that 200 person team is nowhere to be seen in Pakistan," she said.
"He says that he was unaware about the country's power issues, external debt, the current account deficit, and didn't know how to run the government and was not prepared." However, you were prepared for the sugar, wheat and LNG scams through which you stole from the people's pockets, she said.
"You weren't prepared to give the jobs you promised but you were prepared to bring in your friends and give them jobs."
Maryam's comments come a day after Prime Minister Imran Khan said that never should a new government come to power without doing its homework and without getting briefings.
“When I review my performance, we took three months only to understand [issues as] everything that we had been looking at from outside was altogether different after we came to power.
"I must also share, for one-and-a-half years we remained unable to even know the actual figures of different sectors, particularly the power sector. From one ministry at times the figures indicated we were performing very well and then sometimes some other figure showed we were not performing that well," he had said at a special ceremony held to sign ‘Performance Agreements of the Federal Government for the Year 2020-21’ in Islamabad.
During today's rally, Maryam said that coronavirus patients had died at Khyber Teaching Hospital after there was a delay in procuring oxygen cylinders. "You were not prepared to provide medical services, but you were prepared to raise the prices of medicines?"
She added that the premier was prepared to throw the sisters and daughters of his opponents in jail but was prepared to give an NRO to his sister.
You were not prepared to work on our foreign policy but were prepared to surrender Kashmir to India, she said. "You had zero preparation to run the government but were fully prepared to be obedient. After two-and-a-half years, you still don't know how to govern but you know how to be obedient very well."
'PM has admitted his failure'
Addressing the rally after Maryam, the PDM chief said that opposition has been saying that the current government is inept, but now the premier himself has admitted his failure.
"He said that he could not make sense of the figures that were presented before him [...] such a government does not have the right to make decisions for the people," he said.
He added that the Supreme Court had also raised questions over the conduct of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). "There is no trusting the accountability process now. It is a puppet of the establishment and has no value of its own.
"The premier says that I will have to answer, but I want to say to him that he is in the grip of my accountability," he said. "First get yourself off the hook, then talk about us."
He said that Pakistan was currently facing a myriad of issues. "A country with a sinking economy can't safeguard its geographical sovereignty."
He said that Pakistan had become "isolated" in the region while Saudi Arabia and China "were cross". China gave you a loan to repay your debts to the Saudis at an interest rate of 14 per cent, he said, adding that China did this because the government had "treated them badly".
"You have destroyed the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and ruined Chinese investment in Pakistan. What else can you expect from the world when you treat them as such?"
He added that currently the economy of Afghanistan, Iran, Malaysia and Indonesia was better than Pakistan. "Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka and Nepal are moving ahead while Pakistan is sinking. The more days the government stays in the power, the more the country will continue to sink."
He said that the PDM will march to Islamabad with the nation to demand the premier's resignation. "We will not rest till we remove the government," he said.
'People have come out in throngs'
Earlier today, PDM leaders arrived in Mardan to hold a rally that was dubbed the 'Mehangai March'. The caravans of the opposition leaders passed through various areas of the city before convening on Nowshera Road, where they addressed participants.
All roads surrounding the venue were closed down for traffic while 1,600 policemen were deputed to ensure security. This was the first rally the 11-party opposition alliance is staging in Mardan.
The PDM went ahead ahead with the rally despite the district administration denying them permission due to a rise in coronavirus cases. Maryam, who had left for Mardan earlier today, called the demonstration a "huge rally" and said Mardan was "choked".
"It is beautiful and heartwarming to see workers of the ANP and the JUI-F receive and greet me with the same affection as the PML-N," she said.
She added that the way "people have come out in throngs and multitudes showed how sick they are of non-stop mehngayi and bad governance".
Earlier today, Information Minister Shibli Faraz said that the "opportunistic groups" in the PDM have different and separate directions.
"The people running a movement against the government are facing movements against themselves," he said. He added that those who prioritise their personal interests will gain nothing except humiliation. He said the chaotic politics of the opposition will not do the country or the people any good.