Maryam accuses govt of rigging ahead of 2023 polls

Published September 2, 2021
PML-N vice president Maryam Nawaz talking to the 
media outside the Islamabad High Court on Wednesday.
—Tanveer Shahzad / White Star
PML-N vice president Maryam Nawaz talking to the media outside the Islamabad High Court on Wednesday. —Tanveer Shahzad / White Star

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) vice president Maryam Nawaz on Wednesday accused the incumbent government of starting pre-poll rigging for the 2023 general elections but warned that they were not living in 2017.

Addressing media after attending the hearing of her appeal against her conviction in the Avenfield Apartment reference, Maryam Nawaz said the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government had played havoc with the country’s future during its three years in power.

She accused the government of trying to silence dissenting voices and applying tactics to ‘fix’ media and the opposition to influence and manipulate the next elections.

Terming the Pakistan Media Development Authority (PMDA) bill a draconian law, Ms Nawaz said: “The PML-N condemns the PMDA bill and any effort to suppress media will be opposed.” While criticising the government for resorting to censorship, she also welcomed the Pakistan Television’s (PTV) coverage of Leader of the Opposition Shehbaz Sharif, adding that this concession was not for every opposition leader, including herself.

Says Nawaz never supported national govt’s concept; Justice Farooq displeased with Maryam

“The country has never witnessed such devastation in the last 73 years; people have never experienced such an incompetent, inefficient and insensitive government since 1947,” she claimed.

Ms Nawaz pointed out that neither the price of a single food item or a petroleum product nor tariff of electricity or gas was reduced during these three years.

“The present setup has failed to maintain law and order while incidents of rape and harassment of women are on rise; in fact these tragic cases have even been mishandled,” the PML-N vice president said.

In response to a question, she said Nawaz Sharif never supported the concept of national government but had suggested dialogue and reconciliation.

According to Maryam Nawaz, political forces should consider the proposed reconciliation to put the country on the right track.

“However, the ruling PTI government should be excluded from the reconciliation process,” she suggested.

Regarding the return of Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz claimed that the former prime minister had faced ruthless accountability for the last three years, had remained behind bars and experienced every kind of brutality meted out by the “illegitimate” government.

She said Mr Sharif had gone abroad due to the government’s victimisation and would surely return whenever the party required his presence.

Court proceeding

Earlier, Maryam Nawaz and retired Capt Safdar appeared before the IHC division bench, comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani.

When the bench convened, Ms Nawaz and Capt Safdar were not inside the courtroom, however, they arrived shortly afterwards.

While Maryam Nawaz was greeting party workers present inside the court, Justice Farooq expressed his displeasure and told her counsel that an accused who did not show respect to the court was not entitled for a concession of bail.

Lead defence counsel Amjad Pervaiz filed an application for adjournment and the court allowed the application and fixed the next date of hearing for Sept 8.

Published in Dawn, September 2nd, 2021

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