Sunday May 31, 2020
LAHORE: Leaders of the ruling PTI and opposition PML-N, continued to spar on Sunday over accountability, the sugar inquiry commission report, and also now, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif's leaked photo.
Punjab Information Minister Fayyaz-ul-Hassan Chohan reacted to a picture of Nawaz Sharif that went viral on social media.
"Nawaz Sharif and Shehbaz Sharif have the traits of hypocrisy and misrepresentation in common," Chohan said.
"Nawaz used to say that no one is more ill than him. He is [seen] brazenly sitting without a mask in the face of the coronavirus pandemic in London. Shehbaz used to say that no one is braver than him. Instead of fighting the coronavirus after returning from London, he is scared of it.
"Both Nawaz and Shehbaz are masters of hypocracy and misrepresentation," said the information minister.
He also criticised Nawaz's daughter, Maryam, for being "busy in a failed bid to decorate the Tamgha-e-Imtiaz on the picture" of her father.
He lambasted the former chief minister of Punjab for "using Shahid Khaqan Abbasi like a pawn to evade the NAB [National Accountability Bureau]".
Abbasi, he added, "is immersed deep in corruption, from head to toe".
Later in the day, PML-N leader Marriyum Aurangzeb responded to the PTI leader's attack, speaking instead about the sugar inquiry commission's report.
In a video statement, she said: "People have become aware that the Imran mafia and sugar thieves have been imposed on the country. Everyday, hired spokespeople perform their circus [acts]."
"Unsuccessful attempts are made to disillusion people by using the PML-N's name," Aurangzeb added,
She said that the party's president, Shehbaz, had not given "a single penny worth of subsidy in Punjab" but rather, had reduced the price of sugarcane and protected the farmers' rights.
Aurangzeb said that the Pakistan Commissions of Inquiry Act, 2017, was set up in the PML-N tenure, and that Prime Minister Imran Khan was bound to make the report public within 30 days. "This report has been made public because of the PML-N. Because transparency was the aim."
"Why did Imran Khan sahab decide to export despite the shortage of sugar in the country? Why was Imran Khan sahab — the main character of sugar theft — not called in the commission?" she went on to question.
Thereafter, the premier's aide on political communication Shahbaz Gill, also joined in the war of words.
He said the former premier's daughter, Maryam, "as usual, lied" about the picture and that it was "leaked on purpose" by the party.
"This picture was taken in the garden outside Hussain Nawaz's office," Gill said, adding that it was "an unsuccessful attempt was made to save a crumbling party".
The picture, he claimed, was taken from two angles and that the PML-N started "raising a hue and cry" that it was taken secretively. "No one else is sitting there and no one can go to their place," he said.
The aide criticised Nawaz as well, saying: "An elderly, sick man did not wear the mask so that he can be recognised in the picture. Party workers are going to the 'uncle' and so under this pressure, the picture was leaked," he said.
Gill also reacted to Aurangzeb's statement, saying she had been "crying over the [sugar] commission report all day long".
"[The PML-N leaders] seem to be realising that the noose of accountability is tightening around their necks. This is the mafia created by the Sharif family since decades.
"They are nervous. They know they have been caught. The inquiry commission's report has exposed their corruption and lies," he said.
"Books maintained for two accounts were seized in the Al-Arabiya Sugar Mills [case]," Gill added.