'Govt pleading with opposition for dialogue,' says Maryam Nawaz

Published January 25, 2021
PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz speaks to reporters in Islamabad on Monday. — DawnNewsTV
PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz speaks to reporters in Islamabad on Monday. — DawnNewsTV

PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz Sharif on Monday claimed the government was "pleading with the opposition" for dialogue and that the latter had decided not to talk to them.

She was responding to a question about government ministers meeting with members of the opposition to lower political temperatures in the country while talking to the media ahead of the PML-N's parliamentary meeting at Parliament House in Islamabad.

Maryam said that the government would "God willing not get an NRO (National Reconciliation Ordinance)".

She added that if she "opened up about the way [the government] was pleading with the opposition and the way the opposition had decided to not talk to them about anything, [people] would be shocked".

Read: Opposition cold-shoulders govt’s olive branch

The PML-N vice president said that it did not matter how many times the government contacted members of the PML-N or any opposition party.

"They are now concerned about themselves. The PML-N is safe. The whole of Pakistan will apply for PML-N's ticket. Nobody will apply for their tickets so they should focus more on their own members rather than PML-N's."

A three-member government delegation that had met the opposition leaders on Friday, seeking better relations at least in the parliament, was due to hold another round of talks with opposition parties today — this time with National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser also accompanying the government team.

However, the meeting did not take place, reportedly due to the PML-N's parliamentary meeting.

PPP's Syed Naveed Qamar told Dawn the meeting did not take place because the PML-N parliamentary party meeting was being held today. He said the PPP had decided to meet the government together with the PML-N, and because the latter was engaged in its party meeting, the meeting could not be held.

Bilawal's no-confidence motion plan

Maryam said that the 10-party opposition alliance — Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) — would discuss PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari's plan to move a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan in its next meeting.

"When the next meeting of the PDM happens, we will discuss this. I heard Bilawal saying he will put it in front of the PDM. When he does so, we will hold talks on it then."

Last week, Bilawal had hinted at the possibility of ousting the PTI government through a no-confidence motion and said all member parties of the PDM would be convinced to use this option and reach consensus on the issue.

However, the very next day, senior PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal publicly opposed the proposal, asking Bilawal to "show numbers" to back up his suggestion of a no-confidence motion against the incumbent government, pointing out that a similar effort had previously failed.

"As far as the PML-N's thinking is concerned, we think if [Bilawal] sahab has the numbers to bring a no-confidence motion then he should certainly show them."

"We saw [previously] in the Senate where we had the [majority] numbers but [despite that] the no-confidence motion was not successful so there is only one path we should follow, and that is to pursue a decisive long march against this government."

Iqbal said the PML-N was also not in favour of an in-house change proposed by another party in the PDM.

Nawaz's stance

In response to another question about her father, PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif's stance, she said that Nawaz had said "these were the last days of the government".

"The way this government is being run [with] inefficiency and incompetence has taken the whole country in its grasp. You saw what happened in PIA (Pakistan International Airlines) and now international organisations are telling their people not to travel on PIA.

"First, you blamed your own pilots through the degrees [scandal]. After that, your plane was stopped in Malaysia due to non-payment of the lease."

The PML-N vice president recalled that the government had said it would "get everybody to honour this passport but now nobody was willing to honour it".

"This government is a failure in every aspect. It cannot run this way," she iterated.

Replying to a question, the PML-N vice president said the opposition does not bring awareness to the people, it is the government's performance that brings awareness to the people. "The performance is in front of you. Every day there is a new storm of inflation and mis-governance.

"Nobody has to raise awareness about the [decline] that Pakistan did not face in the last 73 years [but] is facing now. There is no comparison of what the media shows and the reality on the ground," she said, while hinting at "pressure" on the media.

"Whatever you show on the media, the real conditions are what happens inside people's homes. The difficulties and problems the public goes through every day."

Senate elections, resignations

Maryam said that the "stealing" of the Senate elections was "nothing new as elections had also been stolen in 2018".

Talking about resignations, she said that the PDM was a 10-party alliance and each party had its own views. "[We will resign] at whatever time the PDM thinks is appropriate. We will not do anything [based on] what someone says or under pressure from anyone."

She further said that all parties in the PDM were experienced in the ups and downs of politics, and when they decided the time was appropriate, the resignations would be submitted, adding that "the time is not far and it will be done soon".

She said that the PDM would decide when the long march would be held but that it was "expected soon".

Responding to a question about the upcoming elections in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), Maryam said that "betrayal and rigging do not work every time. At times, it backfires."

When asked about the government's plan to mortgage Islamabad's biggest park in the F-9 sector, she said that the government that had "uprooted everything from a country that was progressing and brought it down [could be expected] to do anything".

"They are at the peak of their incompetence and inefficiency. They haven't performed. They have accrued historic amounts of loans."


Additional reporting by Syed Irfan Raza.

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