PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz castigated PTI Chairman Imran Khan on Thursday for allegedly using religion for the sake of his personal politics and perverting religious beliefs and interpretations.
Talking to the media in Islamabad, Maryam was questioned regarding PML-N leader Javed Latif’s comments a day ago accusing the PTI chief of “attacking the basic principles of Islam” by “supporting” the Ahmediyya community during his tenure.
Latif’s comments had prompted a response from the PTI who in turn had lambasted the coalition government — particularly the PML-N — for “using religion to instil and spread hatred” against Imran.
Maryam avoided directly commenting on Latif’s comments and instead said she was against using or involving religion in politics, or for personal interests.
“Using religion for your personal motives is very bad. I have suffered this and am a victim. Ahsan Iqbal received a bullet and they flung mud at Nawaz Sharif as well.”
She alleged that Imran used to frequent rallies and sit-ins where the above were accused of disrespecting religion.
Maryam further claimed that the PTI had run its by-election campaign in Lahore’s NA-120 in 2017 “on the basis of religion”.
“The party they used for religion and whose rallies they attended, they themselves shot at when their own government came [to power],” she added.
“I think religion is a personal matter … but it does not remain a personal matter when you say in rallies that ‘voting for PML-N is a sin and voting for me (Imran) is righteous and if my party members switch loyalties then it’s shirk’.”
Maryam came down hard on Imran for what she said was his “changing definitions” of religious terminologies.
“Shirk’s definition is associating partners with God. Are you changing the entire dictionary and the meaning of religion for your disgusting politics?
“If this is shirk, according to you, then you are the biggest committer because you admitted in TV interviews that ‘I used the establishment to bring people in my government for voting’,” she said.
She also mentioned other examples of Imran allegedly invoking religion during political rallies and said it was a “matter of concern” for her as a mother because of the message that was being sent to the youth.
“My problem, as a mother, is you don’t use the name of religion and don’t try to pervert people’s religious beliefs because you should speak responsibly when you speak on a mic.”
Maryam further criticised the former prime minister for his comments regarding Additional District and Sessions Judge Zeba Chaudhry and said only a “mentally unsound” person or someone who was “launched to cause destruction” could say such things.
“I think all institutions, whether the judiciary or army or politicians or government, should acknowledge he is a fitna (chaotic miscreant) who was launched for destruction and from whom no one is safe.”
The PML-N vice president said that the PTI chief should not be heeded and should not be considered a stakeholder in the political process.
She further added that if Imran no longer remained the “blue-eyed boy” of certain quarters then “sorting him out is not a matter beyond three days”, as she snapped her fingers.
Responding shortly after, PTI leader Shireen Mazari said: “Even your elders can’t sort him out and you aren’t even [worth] anything.”
‘Don’t favour petrol and electricity price increases’
Maryam also addressed questions regarding the state of the economy and said it was not possible to turn it around in months, adding that it would take years after the policies of the PTI government.
“This government has spent day and night and taken difficult decisions, whether I support them or not, but this is true that [Prime Minister] Shehbaz Sharif has saved the country from default and slowly the economy will begin to revive.”
Maryam said she had “categorically stated” that she was not in favour of fuel or electricity price increases, adding that her first responsibility was to the people and she did not own such decisions, whether her party was in government or not.
“I will request the government to focus on it. I don’t support this decision and it should be corrected. However, it will take time to correct the economy after what Imran Khan did.”
She also addressed a question regarding missing persons and said she was glad that PM Shehbaz had taken up the case of missing journalist Mudassar Naaru.
“I’m hopeful he will be successful in pulling a breakthrough [in the matter].”