BAGH: While the PML-N is apparently facing a real challenge in the June 8 by-polls from the PPP, its ally in Islamabad as well as in Muzaffarabad, PML-N senior vice president Maryam Nawaz targeted embattled PTI chairman Imran Khan in a by-election rally on Monday.
Speaking at the rally held in a school ground to support PML-N candidate Mushtaq Ahmed Minhas amid heavy downpour, Ms Nawaz said he who claimed that he would make PML-N cry was himself shedding tears in isolation.
The constituency had fallen vacant due to the disqualification of the then AJK prime minister and PTI regional president Sardar Tanveer Ilyas. He is no longer with the PTI and is engaged reportedly in activities to launch a new political group or party at the national level.
Ms Maryam began her speech by paying rich tributes to the martyrs of Kashmir and Pakistan and the soldiers maintaining the highest state of alert at the mountains of [Azad] Kashmir for their country’s defence at the peril of their lives.
Quickly afterwards, she started criticising Mr Khan though she took his name only once, and in the remaining part of her speech made the audience do so in response to her questions. “Can he who disrespects and disgraces the martyrs and vandalises and profanes their memorials and statues be from among us?” she asked.
“Can he who wrecks the fighter jets once used to down the enemy be from among us?” she questioned, in a reference to May 9 incidents blamed on PTI workers. As the crowd responded in the negative, Ms Maryam said: “If he is not from amongst us, he is not even a Pakistani.”
“However violent, opponent or angry one may be, no Pakistani can dare put his country on fire,” she said.
The PML-N senior vice president maintained that whatever had happened in the length and breadth of Pakistan on May 9 had brought tears in the eyes of the families of the martyrs and filled every Pakistani and every Kashmiri with remorse and shame.
‘Make him an example’
“We cannot even face the families of the martyrs,” she said, adding that the person who had meted out this treatment to the martyrs of Pakistan was himself hiding in his “bunker” and should bear in mind that the Pakistani and Kashmiri nation would never forgive him. “We will make him an example.”
She went on to allege that Mr Khan had not only torched Pakistan, but had also made a sell-out of the Kashmir issue while sitting by the side of [the then US President Donald] Trump.”
She asked, “Who comes to your mind when you hear about arson, siege, unrest, disturbance, politics of hatred and mischief-making ... when one is bereft of performance, he resorts to such negativities.”
‘Vanished in the air’
She said the party – PTI – that had been imposed on the AJK people in 2021 through rigging had vanished in the air.
“He had planned to finish the politics of Nawaz Sharif and disintegrate PML-N. But, the PML-N is intact and his party has broken into pieces.”
While referring to Mr Ilyas, Ms Maryam took the PTI chief’s name for the first time in her speech and said that his own prime minister in AJK was testifying against him that “Imran Khan had planned the May 9 incidents and also that the PML-N had served AJK in true sense of the word.”
The PML-N leader said that Nawaz Sharif had faced many enemies from the time of Gen Musharraf, but Allah was bringing him back [to power] because of his ‘unwavering commitment to Pakistan and Kashmir’. “He who was saying I am enough for them all alone is today shedding tears, all alone,” she remarked in Punjabi.
Due to the downpour, prior to Ms Maryam only two persons, federal minister Javed Latif and Mr Minhas, spoke to the rally.
Published in Dawn, June 6th, 2023