PML-N rules out talks with govt on any issue

Published January 26, 2021
PML-N vice president Maryam Nawaz addresses the party’s parliamentary groups’ meeting on Monday.—White Star
PML-N vice president Maryam Nawaz addresses the party’s parliamentary groups’ meeting on Monday.—White Star

ISLAMABAD: Declaring the Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) proposal to move a no-trust motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan “impracticable”, the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) parliamentarians have ruled out possibility of holding talks with the government on any issue and reposed full confidence in the leadership and narrative of their party’s supreme leader Nawaz Sharif.

Talking informally to reporters outside the Parliament House building after attending a joint meeting of the party’s parliamentary groups in the National Assembly and Senate, PML-N vice president Maryam Nawaz claimed that the government was “begging” before the opposition for a dialogue, but the opposition had decided not to hold any talks with it.

“You will be surprised if I tell you the details as to how they [the government people] are begging before the opposition for talks,” Ms Nawaz said in response to a question about a meeting of the opposition leaders with a government team before the start of the National Assembly session on Friday.

She said the opposition would submit its resignations from the assemblies at an appropriate time and with a consensus within the 10-party Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM).

“Resignations will be submitted and long march will take place,” she said, adding that the present “incompetent government” would not be able to stay in power anymore. She declared 2021 an election year.

Terms PPP proposal to move no-trust motion against PM ‘impracticable’; Maryam says govt will not be allowed to change accountability laws

In response to a question about the PPP’s proposal regarding using the option of no-trust motion against the prime minister, Ms Nawaz said Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari had said that he would explain his proposal before the PDM leadership and now the matter would be discussed at the opposition alliance’s platform. She refused to speak on the reports about involvement of the PPP in “backdoor diplomacy”, saying she did not like to talk on hypothesis.

The PML-N vice president, who attended the parliamentary party meeting despite being not a member of parliament, said the PML-N would not allow the government to change the accountability laws, adding that the present rulers would face the same NAB (National Accountability Bureau) which was now for the opposition.

Though the PML-N denied that Ms Nawaz had presided over the meeting, the pictures of the event released officially by the party show her sitting at the centre of the main table with party’s senior vice president Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and chairman Raja Zafarul Haq on her left and right. The portraits of the detained party president Shehbaz Sharif and PML-N’s parliamentary leader in the National Assembly Khawaja Asif were placed in front of the main table.

In her speech, Ms Nawaz thanked the party members for their steadfastness and commitment with her father and party’s supreme leader Nawaz Sharif.

Later, through her social media account on Twitter, Ms Nawaz termed the support of the party members to Nawaz Sharif “phenomenal” and said the PML-N had truly become an ideological party.

“The party stands committed and united under the leadership of Nawaz Sharif more than ever before. The support and resolve were phenomenal. This is new, ideological PML-N Alhamdulillah,” writes Ms Nawaz with her pictures at the PML-N meeting.

Sources said that more than a dozen parliamentarians spoke in the meeting and, besides discussing the political situation, also talked about some organisational matters. Some of the participants were of the view that they should take steps to present the PML-N as a national level party instead of a Punjab-based entity.

During the meeting, the sources said, a number of participants declared the PPP’s proposal of no confidence motion “impracticable” and the party asked PDM secretary general Shahid Khaqan Abbasi to take up the matter with the PPP and PDM leaders.

The sources said that in his speech, Mr Abbasi criticised National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser and declared him a “partisan” speaker. He told the participants that the speaker had objected to the participation of Ms Nawaz in the meeting and even threatened to cancel the allotment of the committee room.

Resolution

After the two-hour long meeting, the party released to the media a copy of the hard-hitting resolution passed by the PML-N parliamentarians. The resolution was read out by PML-N secretary general Ahsan Iqbal during the meeting and endorsed by the members.

Through the resolution, the PML-N points out that “the appointments of retired and in-service military officers in the institutions within Pakistan are practically painting a picture of martial law in the country due to which the civil bureaucracy in the institutions and the people at large are suffering from severe uneasiness and anxiety”. This situation, it says, “is also seriously making the reputation of the military questionable and will lead to further widening of the gap between the civilians and the military”.

The resolution announced full support for PML-N quaid Nawaz Sharif’s narrative and the principled position taken by him. “Nawaz Sharif has not only pointed out the correct reasons for the serious dangers facing the nation but also proves that he is a true patriot by presenting these hard and inconvenient truths to the people,” it adds.

The PML-N members said in the resolution that Mr Sharif’s narrative of “restoration of sanctity of vote had become the voice of the entire nation”. “In the light of its leader’s vision, narrative and insight, the party considers the proposed course of action to address these issues to be the right path,” they added.

The PML-N leaders said they were ready to sacrifice their body, mind and money and reiterate “our commitment to obey every command of party quaid Nawaz Sharif”.

The meeting slammed the unjustified arrest and detention of party president Shehbaz Sharif, Hamza Shehbaz and Khawaja Asif and Syed Khurshid Shah and the reprehensible treatment of the prisoners.

The session declared that the “imposed government” had become a symbol of catastrophe which was committed to the agenda of demolition of the national economy. They pointed out that business and employment had collapsed and now the process of destruction of institutions was under way.

The PML-N said Pakistan was fast becoming a “failed state” at home and abroad. On the one hand, national assets were being confiscated and, on the one hand, Pakistan’s image was being defiled in the international arena, it added, adding that the responsibility for this “national embarrassment” lies on the “incompetent, thieving and foreign-imposed government”.

The meeting expressed grave concern over the economic condition of the country. It called for an investigation into the nationwide power outage.

The PML-N alleged that the Election Commission had been obstructing the disclosure of facts of the foreign funding case for six years, which is regrettable, worrying and reprehensible. The party demanded that all documents related to the case, including 23 secret bank accounts, be made public and all its proceedings be done in full public view.

The meeting demanded that cases relating to theft of foreign funding, 23 secret accounts, Malam Jabba, helicopter misuse, BRT, Billion Tree Tsunami, flour and sugar be heard on a daily basis and decisions be given on all these cases.

The meeting condemned the CPEC Authority Bill and its immunity and said that a person facing controversy and allegations of corruption should not be the head of a sensitive project like CPEC as it was against the national interest.

The meeting also condemned the practice of gagging and strangling the media in the country, snatching its constitutional freedom and making it a tool of government’s agenda.

The meeting condemned the decision to reduce the number of seats in medical colleges in Punjab and said that the Imran Khan government had failed miserably in this regard as well.

Published in Dawn, January 26th, 2021

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