Govt offers dialogue to opposition excluding Fazl, Maryam

Published December 29, 2020
This file photo shows PDM president Maulana Fazlur Rehman along with PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and PML-N vice president Maryam Nawaz talking to media after a meeting. —Tanveer Shahzad / White Star
This file photo shows PDM president Maulana Fazlur Rehman along with PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and PML-N vice president Maryam Nawaz talking to media after a meeting. —Tanveer Shahzad / White Star

ISLAMABAD: The government is ready for dialogue only with the serious-minded leadership of the opposition but PDM chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and PML-N vice president Maryam Nawaz should not be part of the process, announced federal Minister for Information Senator Shibli Faraz on Monday.

“National dialogue is part of politics and the forum for such a dialogue will be parliament, as it represents the people’s will. But both Maryam Nawaz and Maulana Fazlur Rehman are not part of the parliament, therefore they will be excluded from the process,” he said while expressing the government’s resolve at a press conference.

Accompanied by Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry and Minister for Water Resources Faisal Vawda, Senator Faraz lashed out at the opposition parties, saying that PML-N was formed by retired Gen Gilani. He said the opposition leadership believed that if they won, the elections were free and fair but if someone else won, elections had been rigged.

He said the government had suggested reforms in electoral system as the agenda for the national dialogue.

Minister says JUI-F chief, ex-PM’s daughter to remain out of process as they’re not part of parliament

It was unfortunate that those who were “facilitators in the killing” of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and tortured Shaheed Benazir Bhutto were sharing the stage with the Pakistan Peoples Party leadership, Senator Faraz said, adding that normally events marking death anniversaries were not used for delivering political speeches, but they used the event for political point-scoring.

In reply to a question about internal differences in Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam, he said those who termed the Maulana “selected” were insiders and enjoyed good reputation and status in the party.

‘Politics based on contradictions’

Minister Vawda in his address said Maryam Nawaz belonged to the family of corrupt and they all were doing politics of self-interest as their politics was based on contradictions.

“Maryam should be ashamed of equating herself with Benazir Bhutto and she was an educated person and not a failed student like you, what have you done for democracy and for the masses?” he added. “But the first thing is to render resignations, and why would the PPP resign when they are about to become the second largest party in Senate,” he believed.

Calling the PML-N vice president ‘daughter of an absconder’, Mr Vawda said she was in panic because there was nothing for her to offer in politics.

Referring to Maryan Nawaz’s speech at Garhi Khuda Bakhsh, the minister said she was portraying herself as a revolutionary and a saviour but there were several missing links in her speeches that she needed to answer. He said: “First of all we want to ask her what qualification she has to be a leader? And isn’t it a matter of shame for a senior leader of over 65 years of age to be standing behind her ‘like servants’?”

He then demanded that the PML-N implement their rhetoric over resignations from the assemblies. “She is asking for the resignations while her uncle who is leader of the opposition is quite, but at least submit the resignations.”

After a gap of around two and a half years, Ms Nawaz claimed the elections had been rigged but her party leaders had not approached any forum such as election tribunal, election commission of Pakistan or courts after the 2018 general elections with the grievances.

“Similarly, one cleric of the JUI-F spoke about hanging the generals of Pak Army on the streets. But I tell you this country is not your personal property to start hanging people, you cannot do that with any ordinary citizens also,” Mr Vawda warned, “We will let you know what the writ of the government is.”

Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry said the PML-N leadership changed colours faster than a chameleon. “They speak of Punjabi nationalism while in Lahore, praise Benazir Bhutto in interior Sindh, they are with the army when in front of them but when they meet Narendra Modi the narrative is that all ills were because of Pakistan army.”

He lamented that all the PDM rallies were focused on decrying Punjab and the Pakistan army.

Calling Ms Maryam Nawaz and Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari political interns, he said they were pursuing for hereditary politics when monarchies were on the decline across the world. He said the real political strife was between Ms Nawaz and her uncle, Shehbaz Sharif, over the slot of the party leadership.

Published in Dawn, December 29th, 2020

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