• Foresees Maryam as next prime minister
• Says PML-N will never join hands with undemocratic force

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Captain Mohammad Safdar on Friday said the fast changing political situation in the country might lead to early elections by December.

In reply to a question about the chances of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif returning to Pakistan from the United Kingdom by December, Capt Safdar retorted in his usual candid and frank manner: “Nobody knows what is going to happen by December.”

He was talking to journalists at the Supreme Court. When quizzed about the reported meetings of Nawaz Sharif with important personalities in London, he said Mr Sharif was a great leader representing 220 million Pakistanis and everybody wanted to meet him.

However, the PML-N supremo, who gifted the country with a number of development projects like the motorway, was the master of his choices and future plans, Capt Safdar said, adding that he may surprise the nation with a huge bang similar to what he did in May 28, 1998 — an obvious reference to Pakistan’s nuclear tests.

To a question about PML-N’s plans to join hands with the establishment to oust the current setup, he said had the party preferred a deal, “our government could have granted extension to the former army chief Raheel Sharif or our leadership could have avoided going to jails in 2018 when a number of cases were filed against them by the present government”.

Instead of joining any undemocratic force, he emphasised, the party would prefer severing its own hands.

When asked whether he foresaw Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari or Maryam Nawaz as the next prime minister of the country, he said he envisaged Maryam — his life partner — as the next premier.

“I have been hoping to see Maryam as the next prime minister since 2018, rather from the day I got married to her,” he said.

Asked whether Shehbaz Sharif had any chance of leading the country, Capt Safdar said he was predicting about the future of his wife in a spiritual metaphor, and posed a counter question to the media by asking had they ever seen a leader as prudent and wise as her.

“She is more courageous than men; difficulties she faced during the last 40 years had refined her,” he said, referring to her father’s detention in Attock Fort or herself being imprisoned in Adiala Jail or Kot Lakhpat prison.

She had the first-hand experience of conspiracies hatched by former president Ghulam Ishaq Khan, and others, he said, adding that, “I am sure everyone will accept that no one but Maryam Nawaz is the most trained leader in the PML-N’s women wing.”

When asked about the protest of Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), Capt Safdar explained that he would always come forward for restoration of democracy and the Constitution, and was with the movement laun­ched by Maulana Fazlur Reh­man for which he was arrested from the motorway while coming to join the tehreek (movement).

He resolved to raise his voice against the menace of land grabbing, saying that Indians could not destroy the terminals of Garhi Habibullah in the 1965 and 1971 wars, but the land mafia had managed to build plazas there.

He was all praise for the judiciary which was dispensing justice despite the fact that the government had initiated several fabricated cases against the opposition leaders. How­ever, he had no idea whether his name was on the exit control list or not, he added.

Published in Dawn, October 30th, 2021

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