LAHORE: PML-N’s chief organiser Maryam Nawaz Sharif has once again stressed that there could be no elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa until “wrongs done to Nawaz Sharif” were righted and PTI chief Imran Khan was held accountable.
“There will be no elections before the accountability of Imran Khan. There will be no elections without ensuring a level playing field,” Ms Sharif told PML-N workers at a convention in Sheikhupura, as more and more party leaders joined the chorus that doesn’t see elections happening anytime soon.
Ms Sharif repeated her stance days after President Arif Alvi announced April 30 as the date for polls in Punjab in line with a Supreme Court order. KP has yet to decide on an election date.
Ms Sharif claimed that a wrong had been done to her father, former premier Nawaz Sharif, and it should be undone. “The elections will be held only after the scales of justice are balanced,” she said.
She also lashed out at former chief justice of Pakistan Saqib Nisar for his statement that he had not declared Imran Khan sadiq and ameen (truthful and honest) unreservedly and in all aspects of his conduct.
“A major character of conspiracy against Nawaz Sharif has made a confession,” Ms Sharif said, referring to Mr Nisar.
The former chief justice, according to Ms Sharif, said he had disqualified Nawaz Sharif in 2017 because some people thought it was the need of the hour. “Nisar will soon speak the whole truth,” she said, adding that all those conspiring against Mr Sharif “are facing ignominy”.
Ms Sharif also targeted the PTI chief for continuously skipping court hearings and said he wouldn’t manage to save his skin in the Toshakhana and prohibited funding cases for long.
“Imran Khan said he could not go to jail because he was 72 years old. But if the 72-year-old can commit corruption, he must go to jail as well,” she said.
Meanwhile, during her visit to Sheikhupura, two groups emerged within the PML-N — one led by federal minister Javed Latif and another by federal minister Rana Tanvir Hussain.
This caused Ms Sharif to cut short her two-day visit for a day and defer her next Sheikhupura tour to the middle of this month to placate Mr Tanvir’s concerns. Mr Tanvir is close to Nawaz Sharif, while Mr Latif is close to Maryam Nawaz.
Meanwhile, more and more PML-N leaders are joining the list of those who have been predicting that elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are unlikely to take place.
Aviation and Railways Minister Saad Rafique said on Tuesday that he was unsure that the election in both provinces would be held. “Even those who have given the decision to hold the polls are not sure about this,” he told reporters in Lahore on Tuesday, apparently referring to judges.
He said “they” were saying that elections should be held in both provinces without a level playing field, but it was impossible.
Several PML-N leaders, including Rana Sanaullah, Ahsan Iqbal, Attaullah Tarar, and Talal Chaudhry, are still adamant that polls can’t be held “on the wishes of PTI Chairman Imran Khan”.
The PPP is, however, forging ahead with its polls’ preparation. The party has sought applications from potential candidates to award tickets for general elections in Punjab.
Published in Dawn, March 8th, 2023