Sunday Jan 03 2021
Web Desk

PDM Bahawalpur rally: Maryam says 'Punjab has risen to take back its rights'

Web Desk
PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz pictured interacting with supporters ahead of the Pakistan Democratic Movement rally, in Bahawalpur, on January 3, 2021. — Twitter
  • Maryam Nawaz says people's support today shows govt's days are "numbered"
  • "Not only has Punjab risen, it is ready to take back the rights it has been robbed of," says the PML-N vice president
  • Laments deaths in Islamabad, Balochistan; says "no one in government concerned"

PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz in an address on Sunday at a Pakistan Democratic Rally said that "Punjab has risen" and is "ready to take back its rights" which she said were "stolen" by the incumbent government.

At the start of her address, at Bahawalpur's Seraiki Chowk, she conveyed to the supporters the salaams (greetings) of PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif and party president Shahbaz Sharif.

"I wonder what would happen if I were to redirect this storm, this sea (of supporters) to Islamabad," she remarked, adding that the "fake prime minister would find no place to hide".

She said the support by people today "shows that the government's days in power are numbered".

Maryam said the reason why it is so "necessary to get rid of the government", is because "in Pakistan's 73-year history never has such an incompetent, corrupt and unqualified government come".

She repeatedly asked the crowd to signal with their chants if they wish to see the Opposition resign or remain seated in the "fake assemblies".

The PML-N vice president then declared: "The day PDM resigns from the assemblies, will be the end of the government."

She said that Punjab was "taunted" for "not standing up for others" and other provinces would say that "unless Punjab stands up, things will not change".

"Well listen here! Not only has Punjab risen, it is ready to take back the rights it has been robbed of. And when Punjab stands up, whose legs start shaking?" she asked the crowd.

"The selectors and the selected can see that the people of Punjab have now stood up."

She asked the crowd: "So is Punjab ready to take back the vote that it was robbed of? Is it ready to fight for other provinces? Is it ready to fight the war for the federation? Is Punjab ready to rid Pakistan of this incompetent, corrupt man?"

"And if Maryam Nawaz Sharif calls for it, will you march to Islamabad, fight, sit there, will you take back your right?" she asked further, to chants of "yes" from the people.

'I feel your pain'

Counting all the woes of the people due to the inflation, she said the International Monetary Fund, "to make matters worse", has now "directed for the electricity prices to go up by 25%".

"I feel your pain. Will the people of Bahawalpur make ends meet to feed their families, to pay their children's fees, to pay utilities or pay for the treatment of the elderly at home?"

"This is why I want us to send this fake, incompetent prime minister packing who, after two-and-a-half years, has thrown his hands in the air to declare he does not know how to run the country's affairs," Maryam said.

She said that "what to speak of chicken, no one will soon be able to afford vegetables even".

"Your daughter Maryam Nawaz Sharif feels your pain and this is what brought us to you all today," she added.

'Can we call this change?'

Maryam asked whether the "storm of inflation" must be considered the "change" that was promised.

"Can we call this sea of incompetence, change? Can we call this flood of unemployment, change? Can we call the selling out of Kashmir, change? Can we call the selling out of national interests, change? Can we call the putting out of the fire that lights poor people's stoves, change?" she asked, as she went on to also count other "prohibitively expensive" basic necessities of life.

Laments deaths in Islamabad, Balochistan

The PML-N leader also lamented the death of 22-year-old Usama Nadeem Satti, who she said was a hardworking student who believed in the Tehreek-i-Insaf. "But no one raised their voice for him. We are raising our voice for the boy who was martyred on the streets of Islamabad."

Maryam, speaking of the Machh coal mine incident today, said that "no one from the government seems concerned".

"And then he (the prime minister) says that 'the army knows I am not corrupt'," she said.

Criticism for prime minister

She said that the premier "takes Rs250,000 as salary but runs a 300 marla house" and "then says he is not corrupt", also accusing his sister Aleema of laundering millions of "black money to white money".

The PML-N leader also questioned the Billion Tree Tsunami project. "Where did those trees go? No one knows."

Maryam also alleged "foreign funding from India and Israel" and questioned why this "snake inside the Election Commission of Pakistan" does not let the investigation proceed.

She further censured the prime minister for "saving his friends from NAB (National Accountability  Bureau) and having them escape abroad", in addition to getting his billion-dollar estate regularised.

The PML-N leader said "without installing a brick in the way of development", the government has "doubled" the country's debts.

Maryam said the prime minister "admitted" in an interview that Rana Sanaullah was "falsely implicated" in a narcotics case.

Govt responds

Minister for Information and Broadcasting Shibli Faraz, in response to Maryam's address, said that she had "forgotten" in Bahawalpur that a certain "royal family" had "robbed" the people of the funds set aside for South Punjab.

"The people of South Punjab continued to long for health, education, but their funds were spent on Lahore," Faraz claimed.

"The PML-N ruined the lives of cotton farmers in South Punjab," said the information minister, adding: "The farmers despise this elite lot."

He said that roads in South Punjab paint a picture that can be likened to the ruins of Mohenjo Daro.

Faraz questioned how it is that Maryam Nawaz has the "cheek to cry over South Punjab".

"The PTI government is fulfilling its promise to the people of South Punjab," he said, adding that the chief minister himself was chosen from there instead of Lahore.

He said a separate secretariat for the region has been established and development works are underway.

'Follow me to Seraiki Chowk'

Ahead of the rally, a venue was set up at the lawn of MPA Malik Zaheer's residence, where the PML-N gathered first.

Addressing party supporters there atop a container, Maryam asked them to follow her to Seraiki Chowk in the form of a procession.

"Come with your daughter, your sister Maryam, to Seraiki Chowk, so Bahawalpur may also announce the end of this fake government," she said.

Opposition struggle aimed at getting rid of 'illegal occupation' in Islamabad, says Fazl

As the procession made its way to the rally venue, Maryam shared another video, saying Bahawalpur has "erupted".

Earlier, as she entered the city, tweeted a video of the vehicles that had lined up all around her.

"If this is the beginning, I don't know what the build-up would look like," she wrote.

Workers of the Muslim League Youth Wing also staged a motorcycle rally in the city.

No permission for rally, cases registered

A spokesperson for the district police a day earlier said the administration had not given permission for the rally.

Warning notices were issued to the organisers to cancel the rally and panaflexes as well as billboards in the city advertising the rally were removed, he said.

The police spokesperson added that cases have been registered against local PDM officials and workers for violating coronavirus safety protocols.