LAHORE: The Nawaz-camp of the PML-N on Thursday openly endorsed the demand of ousted premier Imran Khan for fresh elections, saying it would not be wise for the Shehbaz-led coalition government to burden the masses with price hikes and inflation because of the devastating policies of the previous PTI regime.

In categorical words, PML-N vice-president Maryam Nawaz told a party rally in Sargodha on Thursday that her father Nawaz Sharif was ready to quit the government but not willing to make the masses suffer economically.

“Nawaz Sharif is listening to my speech in London. He will say goodbye to the government but not pass on the economic burden to the people of Pakistan,” she said and added there was no point to carry the “weight of blunders” of Imran Khan and better go to the masses to seek a fresh mandate.

In a clear message to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and the coalition partners, Ms Nawaz said: “Say goodbye to the government and go to the masses.”

Earlier, the PML-N leadership remains in two minds - to go for early polls or should the nine-party coalition government complete tenure till August 2023 - despite Mr Shehbaz and the party core members’ three-day huddles in London.

Serious economic challenges with a dollar appreciated to over the Rs200 mark, mounting pressure from Imran Khan and lack of harmony among the major coalition parties are making it apparent every passing day that no homework was done for the post-Imran Khan political scenario, which has landed the PML-N-led ruling alliance in the dire straits it finds itself in today.

Telling the rally why the PML-N chose to dislodge Imran’s government and come to power, Maryam said: “Imran Khan and company had planned to return to power after rigging the 2023 election. We failed Imran’s plan and sent him home. Now his game is over for good.” She asked the people to give a two-thirds majority to Nawaz so that he could serve them well. Visibly perturbed over the Supreme Court’s suo motu notice barring authorities from making new appointments and transferring officials involved in high-profile National Accountability Bureau (NAB) cases as well as those being heard by special courts,Ms Nawaz said the apex court should also take suo motu in Shahzad Akbar’s witch-hunt of the Sharif family, Bashir Memon’s allegations and foreign funding case. She said when Imran talked about a conspiracy against his government, he did not refer to Nawaz but the institutions. “Imran hurls abuses at the army and even the son of President Arif Alvi does the same,” she lambasted. She also accused a private TV channel of benefiting Rs40bn in the government of Imran Khan, saying that the channel blindly supported the ousted premier. She also chided Khan for insulting her in a public speech.

Published in Dawn, May 20th, 2022

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