LAHORE: PML-N chief organiser Maryam Nawaz on Friday asked the federal ruling coalition to initiate a process for declaring the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) ‘proscribed’, saying there would be a “question mark on the Shehbaz-led government if it does not go for it”.
“What happened in Zaman Park (during a police operation) was an attack on the state. It was a mutiny. There are reports that terrorists are hiding at Zaman Park. The PTI is a militant organisation that is implementing a foreign agenda. Now the time has come to get it declared proscribed,” Ms Nawaz demanded at a presser here.
She also pinned hope on her party’s federal government to initiate a process in this regard. She wanted her uncle, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, to act in this respect immediately. “There will be a question mark on the Shehbaz government if it does not go for getting the PTI banned,” she said, sounding desperate for ‘strict action’ against Mr Khan’s party ahead of the April 30 Punjab Assembly polls.
She said: “Since the PTI is not a political party, we should deal with it the way the state deals with a militant organisation. I ask the government to deal with Imran Khan like a terrorist.”
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The PML-N leader said if the state wanted to arrest Mr Khan at all costs, it could have done it in five minutes, but it did not want bloodshed. She also drew a comparison between the Punjab police and Rangers operation at Zaman Park and that of the Katcha area. “Some innocent PTI workers were also there (at Zaman Park) that’s why we were careful during the action,” she claimed.
She lamented that Mr Khan was not arrested in 2014, when he was declared a proclaimed offender. “Now if he gives an undertaking that he will appear before courts in the cases he is facing, he should not be arrested,” she offered but complained to the judiciary that the treatment Mr Khan was being given by the courts should also be offered to her father, Nawaz Sharif.
Not buying the stance of the Punjab caretaker government that the Gilgit-Baltistan police did not clash with their colleagues in the province during the Zaman Park operation, Ms Nawaz insisted that Mr Khan had pit the GB police against the Punjab police. Hours before her presser, Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique also raised the same issue and equated the PTI with India’s RSS.
Published in Dawn, March 18th, 2023