PML-N vice president Maryam Nawaz talking to reporters outside the Islamabad High Court on Thursday.—Tanveer Shahzad / White Star
PML-N vice president Maryam Nawaz talking to reporters outside the Islamabad High Court on Thursday.—Tanveer Shahzad / White Star

ISLAMABAD: Senior leader of the Pakistan Mus­lim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Maryam Nawaz said on Thursday she felt vindicated as she was not part of the legislation that allowed extension in the tenure of Chief of the Army Staff.

Talking to Dawn before appearing for a hearing in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on her appeal against conviction in the Avenfield properties reference, Ms Nawaz termed “unacceptable” the rhetoric of government ministers who have sought to do away with the role of leader of the opposition in the appointment or extension of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chairman.

“They want to keep out the opposition in NAB’s appointment (in order) to accommodate their brothers at the top posts in NAB,” she said.

She was apparently referring to the recent appointment of a federal minister’s brother to a senior position in the prosecution wing of the anti-corruption watchdog.

She, however, said the PML-N would give its reaction when the government would finally move to extend the tenure of incumbent NAB chairman retired Justice Javed Iqbal.

The daughter of PML-N’s supreme leader Nawaz Sharif characterised the electronic voting machines (EVMs) as a “tool that would be used to rig the next general elections”.

“The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) has lost public support, which is evident from their continuous defeats in the by-elections,” she said.

The government is trying to paint a rosy picture by equating EVMs with transparent and fair elections even though “this government has nothing to do with transparency and fairness”, she said.

The PTI government, she maintained, had failed miserably to deliver on the energy, economy and diplomatic fronts. “They have failed to control inflation, loadshedding, prices of electricity, edible items and petroleum products and in devising an effective foreign policy,” she said.

“For these reasons, they are again planning to steal the mandate through unfair means and rigging.”

During court proceedings, the PML-N leader informed the IHC’s division bench comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani that she had engaged Advocate Irfan Qadir, who sought time from the court to prepare himself. The court adjourned the hearing till October 6.

Talking to journalists after the hearing, she said the government, in order to hide its failures, was scapegoating various institutions. Some ministers recently attacked the Election Commission of Pakistan.

“It is a worst-ever humiliation for any Pakistani ruler since over seven decades when a television channel like CNN says that Imran Khan’s status is not more than of a mayor,” Ms Nawaz said.

The prime minister, she said, is deviating from his earlier stance on accountability. After comparing the conduct of past rulers with that Hazrat Umar he himself is hiding the gifts he received from the Toshakhana.

Ms Nawaz said that Mr Khan used to say that the hike in the prices of flour, petrol and electricity was due to the corruption of successive prime ministers. “He is a certified thief as per his past assertions.”

In response to a question about the show-cause notice issued to MNA Mian Javed Latif for hurling allegations that some PML-N leaders were “working on assignment”, she said that Mr Latif is a staunch follower of Mr Sharif and that her party’s leadership will decide his fate after perusal of his reply.

Published in Dawn, September 24th, 2021

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