Imran made a mockery of Pakistan Army, says Maryam
The Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) on Saturday held a rally at Faisalabad’s Dhobi Ghat ground, marking the start of a new series of anti-government demonstrations.
The PDM plans to hold at least 30 rallies by the end of 2021, according to recent reports.
The Faisalabad rally proved unusual for two reasons. It came at the heel of a major petroleum price hike allowing the opposition to put the government in a bad light, and PMLN President Shehbaz Sharif, who is also the Opposition Leader in the National Assembly, was absent from the event.
Shehbaz Sharif nominated Maryam to represent PMLN at the rally, former senator Pervez Rashid claimed on Friday night.
Ahsan Iqbal told journalists on Saturday that Shehbaz could not attend the rally due to his strained back.
Faisalabad is a PMLN stronghold and a large number of people turned up to listen to Maryam Nawaz Sharif, who just before the rally announced that she was going to share “important information” with people.
Maryam was accorded a warm welcome, which she proudly acknowledged in her opening remarks. “I entered Faisalabad at 5pm and arrived at the venue by 8.30pm,” she said.
She launched a diatribe against Imran Khan, holding him responsible for food inflation and high energy costs. She compared prices.
“When Nawaz Sharif was in power, sugar was priced at 50 rupees per kg and within three years it has crossed 120 rupees. Roti was available at 2 to 5 rupees and now it costs 25 rupees.”
Electricity prices have shot up from Rs11 per unit to Rs26, she said.
During the Nawaz government, petrol was available at Rs70 per litre and today it is at Rs138 per litre, while edible oil was available at Rs140 and now it is being sold at Rs340, she said.
“Who is the thief now? Petrol, diesel, ghee are at the historic high,” Maryam said.
She claimed that people close to Imran Khan had made money from the food inflation and rising energy costs.
Maryam alleged corruption of Rs122 billion in LNG imports.
PMLN Vice President then commented on the issue of DG ISI appointment. She said Imran Khan had made a mockery of the Pakistan Army.
Maryam also said the appointment of the ISI head was a prerogative of the prime minister but for that, the prime minister must be an elected one.
She also told Imran to not try to become a political martyr as people were ready to “shred” his government.
PDM Cheif and Jamiat Ulama-e-Islam Pakistan President Maulana Fazlur Rehman took the stage following Maryam Nawaz’s speech and said that PDM was not against “our institutions but we want to see them stable.”
He said the PDM wanted to send “incompetent [and] ineligible politicians” home.
While talking about inflation, he said people should come on the streets against this “corrupt” government.
“Imran Khan is [working] on the agenda to destabilise the entire region including China,” he said. “Institutions that are supposed to protect the state have been defending Khan.”
He said that every institution should respect its constitutional jurisdiction.
Even Pak-China friendship, he said, is under threat. Imran Khan’s poor foreign policy has spoiled Pakistan’s relation with China, the US, and Europe, said Fazlur Rehman.
Taking a dig at the premier he said that Imran Khan’s “corruption card” against the opposition would not help him anymore now. “You [Imran Khan] have sold prestigious gift for money.”
He requested people to support the PDM for the better future of Pakistan. “We won’t let you down if you come out against this government,” he said.
Commenting on Maryam Nawaz’s address , Minister of State for Information Farrukh Habib said Maryam Nawaz has no political struggle, and that the nation is demanding an account of her assets in London.
Farrukh Habib said Modi had tasked Maryam to defame Pakistan’s institutions.
He said that Maryam Nawaz was only targeting Pakistani institutions. The battle of “M” and “Sh” in PML-N was clear, he said referring to Shehbaz Sharif’s absence from the rally.