Tuesday Sep 29, 2020
Federal minister Fawad Chaudhry, while criticising Maryam Nawaz for taking a confrontational stance against the status quo, has said the PML-N will accept Prime Minister Imran Khan as an angel if he only allows them relief from corruption cases and allow them to keep their money safe abroad.
"Maryam Nawaz is building a narrative that all national institutions are acting in collusion with the government [against the Opposition] and that PM Imran Khan is a cruel man," Chaudhry said in Geo News current affairs programme 'Aaj Shahzeb Khanzada Kay Sath' on Monday.
"Her narrative is that Khan is subjecting the PML-N to political victimisation. She believes that the army and judiciary are against her party. She also believes that the Opposition is being dragged through the mud by state institutions in collusion with the PTI government."
"However," he said, "the narrative suffers from one major flaw in that all cases being suffered by Maryam Nawaz's party were actually lodged by the PPP."
"And the institutions which she is ranting against are the ones that were established in the era of her father, Nawaz Sharif," Chaudhry said, adding that everyone "from the chairman NAB to the peon" were handpicked by her father.
"Given her narrative, the question arises as to why Maryam has objections regarding nearly all national institutions," Chaudhry remarked.
"[It seems] her complaint [actually] is: Why are the judiciary and the military not lending a helping hand in protecting the money of Nawaz Sharif and his family," Chaudhry claimed.
"This is the only conclusion I could have arrived at from her argument," he said.
Fawad underlined that if Prime Minister Imran Khan doubles back from his stance and allows opposition leaders to keep their allegedly ill-gotten money safe abroad, he [Imran Khan] will become an angel in their sights.
All disputes will be settled if the PM announces that his government will no longer pursue corruption cases and will amend the NAB law in consultation with the Opposition, Fawad Chaudhry claimed.
Replying to a question regarding disgraced accountability judge Arshad Malik, whom the PML-N believes was blackmailed into convicting Nawaz Sharif, Chaudhry said it was the PML-N which had blackmailed a judge who had absolved Nawaz Sharif in another case.
Rana Sana, who was also in attendance for the TV show, responded to Fawad Chaudhry's remarks saying the PMLN would accept Imran Khan as an angel if a public hearing of the audit of 23 foreign funding accounts pending before the Election Commission is held.
He was referring to the allegation that the PTI illegally received foreign funds to finance its campaigns.
He also challenged that the PTI government to prove any money laundering charge against Salman Shahbaz, asserting that the case in question was not a money-laundering case.
The former Punjab law minister said: "What NAB is doing is not accountability, it is victimisation".
Disputing Chaudhry’s claim, Rana said that regardless of who appointed the NAB chief, it was after his appointment that he [the NAB boss] had said that this government would topple if he arrested some people.
Sanaullah also asked who was behind a scandalous video featuring the NAB chairman. He alleged that the video had been "managed at Prime Minister House" by a media owner who had been an advisor to PM Imran Khan.
The PM House was the place, he claimed, where the conspiracy was hatched and the chairman’s hands have since been tied behind his back.
"His hands are untied only when he is needed to sign arrest warrants for opposition leaders," he remarked.
Replying to Sanaullah's observations, Fawad Chaudhry said: “I want to raise two points here. Firstly, NAB is not the only institution that they have taken umbrage against. They also have complaints against the judiciary. During the entire press conference, Maryam pinpointed the courts, making a point that they are not delivering the right verdicts.”
“They have taken strong exceptions to the military as well. And, now, they are saying NAB is under pressure.”
At this point, the federal minister suggested that if the PML-N does not want to plead their cases in the courts, they may take to media and respond to all the allegations leveled against them point by point.
He also highlighted that all national institutions are duty-bound to support the government as they are part of the government.
The minister proposed the opposition not to complain but apply for a plea bargain as the government does not want to put their leaders behind bars.
He added, "You may carry on with your politics with political leaders who have no serious allegations against them."
"Nawaz Sharif is the only Pakistani leader who used his political party for money laundering," he alleged.
Rana simply responded saying the writing is on the wall — the system cannot survive with such fierce victimisation of political opponents.