Monday Mar 15, 2021
LAHORE: The leaders of the Opposition parties' anti-government coalition under the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) banner have called a meeting on Tuesday to discuss the resignations issue, PML-N Vice-President Maryam Nawaz has said.
Speaking to the media here in Lahore on Monday, Maryam Nawaz said tomorrow's meeting would make it clear where the Opposition parties stood on the resignations. "We will try to persuade those who do not agree to resigning," she added.
"Today's meeting was chaired by [PML-N Supremo] Nawaz Sharif and Hamza [Shehbaz] and other leaders from Lahore participated" in it as well, she said.
The PML-N leader noted that it was very "encouraging" that the people had responded to "our calls" for justice. "Pakistan will move towards a better future," she added.
"The PDM is a coalition of 10 parties and remains united on a larger agenda," she said, noting that her party, the PML-N, stood for principle and was together under Nawaz Sharif's leadership.
"Tomorrow's meeting will see what strategy the PML-N has to adopt," she added. "The hope is that all PDM parties will understand the sensitivity of the situation."
Separately, in her speech, she also lambasted the PTI regime for its "attempt at the worst rigging [during the Senate election]", which she said the entire Pakistan witnessed and "rejected".
The government, however, launched attacks at the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) instead of apologising to it, she noted.
"If the PTI government did not get votes in the election, then what's the ECP's fault? Pakistan has now understood what it means to criticise and attack the institutions," she said.
Former prime minister and key PML-N leader Shahid Khaqan Abbasi also criticised the PTI's representatives, saying their "ministers are trained to lie on TV".
"Today, the entire cabinet attacked the ECP and said the ECP should resign. The government and Imran Khan were sour over their defeat," Abbasi said.
"Instead of apologising to the Election Commission of Pakistan, the entire Cabinet launched an attack on it. Every day, they attack someone and lie. If there is a risk to their jobs, maybe they should leave.
"When the vote is not respected, rulers like Imran Khan will come. We are talking about 'vote ko izzat dou' [respecting the vote]," the former premier added, using the PML-N's chant for fair and transparent polls.
Earlier in the day, she had criticised the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for being "a slave to order" and how it has been commanded to arrest the incumbent regime's political opponents.
Maryam asked who gave the NAB the authority to check her speeches and comments. The anti-graft watchdog, she explained, had recommended her bail be cancelled during a hearing at the Lahore High Court (LHC) because she was giving public statements.
"The NAB is an institution of revenge," she opined, adding that the body lied to the court about her not cooperating in the investigation. "I was kept in detention for three months and asked about books and invitations.
The PTI had approached the electoral body after videos emerged in which Gillani's son, Ali Haider Gilani, was recorded telling PTI lawmakers how to discard their votes just before the March 3 polls.
Further recordings had suggested that money and other incentives were also offered in exchange for votes.
The Opposition's candidate, Yousaf Raza Gillani, had defeated the government's nominee for the seat on March 3, triggering a strong reaction from the government.
PM Imran Khan openly accused the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) of using money to influence the Senate election.