Maryam calls on govt to treat PTI as ‘terrorist organisation’

Published March 17, 2023
PML-N Senior Vice President Maryam Nawaz Sharif addresses the media on March 17, 2023. — Screengrab
PML-N Senior Vice President Maryam Nawaz Sharif addresses the media on March 17, 2023. — Screengrab

PML-N Senior Vice President Maryam Nawaz Sharif on Friday called on the coalition government to treat the PTI as a “terrorist organisation”.

“The way the government, the state deals with a banned organisation, a terrorist organisation, Imran Khan should be dealt with in the same way. Thinking of it (PTI) as a political party and dealing with it as a political party needs to end,” she said.

She said that PTI Chairman Imran Khan was now amenable for talks with the government after all his tactics had failed. “The government should deal with them in the same way it deals with terrorists.”

She made the remarks during a fiery press conference in Lahore in which she lashed out at the ex-premier for “openly revolting against the state”.

The PML-N leader’s comments come as Imran has been resisting arrest in the Toshakhana case and is holed up inside his Zaman Park residence surrounded by hundreds of supporters, who have fought “pitched battles” with the police and Rangers.

“After the foreign funding case, I have no doubt that he (Imran) was launched to spread civil unrest and anarchy in Pakistan,” Maryam said.

“What do terrorists do when they are planning to carry out terrorism? They hide in caves and pass orders from there.

“In political and democratic movements […] we have always seen that political leaders or the party head leads from the front. He is at the front and the people come out behind him.”

She said that only in terrorists organisations were orders given “from a cave”, adding that the same was happening at Zaman Park.

“Statements are being given from the Zaman Park bunker,” she said, adding that people were also being given orders to throw petrol bombs.

“Where did the petrol come from? Where did the petrol bombs come from? Where did the technology for making petrol bombs come from? Have you ever seen petrol bombs in the hands of a political party?”

Maryam alleged that Imran had pitted the police forces of two provinces against each, adding that members of banned organisations were also present outside Zaman Park.

“The way in which terrorist organisations tell people to wear suicide jackets and carry out suicide attacks, in the same way he is calling on people to attack the state with the promise of a [party] ticket. It is the same thing.”

She further said that the state appeared to be on the back foot as it did not want bloodshed and valued the lives of citizens. She said that the state had to “look after everyone”.

“But yes, now the state will have to sit together with the country’s institutions and remove the label of a political party from it (PTI). It should be dealt with as a banned organisation […] and a terrorist organisation.

“If this doesn’t happen, then a huge question mark will arise on this government.”

During the press conference, Maryam was also asked about why she only blamed ex-spymaster retired Lt Gen Faiz Hameed and not former army chief retired Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa for ousting her father Nawaz Sharif.

She responded by saying that the results of what both the men did was in front of the nation. “They both have confessed and are now blaming each other,” she said, adding that the “institution should take measures to sort them out”.

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