Tuesday Nov 01 2022

Only aim of PTI's long march is to stop govt from appointing army chief: Maryam

PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz holds a press conference in London, on November 1, 2022. — Photo by Murtaza Ali Shah
PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz holds a press conference in London, on November 1, 2022. — Photo by Murtaza Ali Shah
  • The PML-N vice president says that PTI chief Imran Khan is "no longer a stakeholder in Pakistani politics".
  • Khan had looted up to Rs50 million from the Toshakhana.
  • She says it needs a criminal-minded person to spend public's money so lavishly on jalsas without having an iota of remorse.

PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz said Tuesday that the whole purpose of Imran Khan’s long march is to create controversy about the appointment of the next Army Chief of Pakistan but he will fail in his designs of division and hate.

Addressing a press conference for the first time after reaching London around a month ago, Maryam said she was speaking to "expose" the "actual agenda" of PTI’s “part-time” long march towards Islamabad and said that it has not been arranged for the sake of the nation but its purpose is to stop the incumbent government from appointing the next army chief.

The PML-N vice president said that "Khan should know that the appointment of the army chief is rightfully, constitutionally, and legally the right of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. And God willing, the process will be carried out amicably in a good environment" and Imran Khan is not a stakeholder in the process.

PM Shehbaz has said that Khan contacted the government last month for discussing two matters — one of them being the appointment of the army chief. However, the premier refused to discuss it with him, she said.

The extended term of Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa will come to an end on November 29 and the coalition government has time and again stressed that his successor will be appointed in due course and in line with the Constitution.

"Imran Khan's 22-year political struggle revolves around General Musharraf, Pasha, Zaheer ul Islam, and those whom he calls his eyes and ears," Maryam said. 

'Aimless, part-time long march'

The PML-N leader said the "part-time" long march ends within two hours after it starts, and it is stuck in Lahore despite the passage of five days. "And now, we are hearing reports that it will take eight to ten more days  to reach Islamabad."

Maryam said at this pace — when Khan leaves for the march after breakfast and leaves for Lahore for tea in the evening — his caravan would not reach Islamabad even after a month.

"These were such serious lies that DG ISI [Director-General of Inter-Services Intelligence Lieutenant General Nadeem Ahmed Anjum] had to come out and address a press conference."

Maryam said since it was the DG ISI who even avoids taking photos, the nation should understand the seriousness of the situation.

She also sent condolences to the family of deceased journalist Sadaf Naeem — who was crushed to death in the line of duty while climbing down PTI Chairman Imran Khan's container during the march — and said that the incident forced her to think about the purpose of PTI's long march.

"A precious life was lost. A mother of young children passed away while covering the long march. It forced me to ponder over the purpose of the long march," she said.

Maryam added that had the march been arranged by someone who had not been in power before, it would have made sense, but someone who ruled the country for four years need not hold such marches.

"Look at any area, be it economy, foreign relations, foreign policy, or governance, Imran Khan destroyed all of them during his tenure."

She said that the way the PTI-led government trampled upon the economy of the country, which led to skyrocketing inflation, Khan should not even be able to utter a word anymore. 

"Yet, he has taken out a rally on the streets of Pakistan," she said. Criticising the march further, Maryam said that personnel of the Punjab Police employed to provide security to Khan greatly outnumbered the participants of the march. 

"Millions of taxpayers' money is being spent to provide security to a march which is aimless and holds no national agenda," she said, adding that it certainly needs a criminal-minded person to spend the public's money so lavishly without having an iota of remorse. 

'Last plan'

She further said that the narrative of a conspiracy that Khan built following his ouster has been exposed. 

"One after the other, his lies started unfolding before the nation which is why the masses are largely indifferent to this long march," she said.

The PML-N vice president added that this long march was the PTI's last plan. "Prior to that, they continued building the narrative of a foreign conspiracy to mount pressure on the government and spewed many lies.  

Maryam added that since Khan failed to dissolve the incumbent government and couldn't ask for a date for the election, he resorted to this aimless long march.

'Biggest opponent Nawaz is yet to step onto electoral field' 

The PML-N vice president further censured Khan for bragging about winning the byelections and said that "he wins from constituencies which he himself vacates and then sings his own praise of winning the elections."

She dared Khan and said that he should wait for his biggest opponent — PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif — who has "not yet been given a level-playing field".

"Khan's actual level will be exposed on the day Nawaz will get a chance to step onto the electoral field," she maintained, adding that the PML-N supremo will "Insha Allah return after ridding himself of all the baseless allegations Khan levelled against him."

"And that day is not far away, because [when my case was being heard in the court] the judges clearly said that none of the allegations against Nawaz Sharif has been proven on the basis of which Maryam was convicted."

'Another big scandal to be exposed soon'

Maryam then questioned Khan about his anti-establishment rhetoric and asked: "Even if we assume that the establishment had told you that the government leaders are thieves, did they tell you to ask for a 5-carat diamond ring? Was it the establishment that told you to steal items from the Toshakhana and secretly sell them? Did they tell you not to declare the money you earned by selling those gifts? Did the establishment tell you to siphon off Rs50 billion? Did they tell you to make Pinky Peerni [Bushra Bibi] your front woman to carry out massive corruption?"

"Even his party members, who he gathered from other parties including PML-N, PPP, etc., know that he is not a blue-eyed boy anymore. That's why they are not part of the long march either."

She said that the court should take notice of Khan's statement as he is continuously lying about not being disqualified. 

Maryam claimed that another big scandal will be exposed soon. "Pakistan had received a diamond set by Graff, one of the leading diamond-manufacturing companies in the world. Khan bought it from the Toshakhana for a price of Rs2 million but sold it off in Dubai for Rs22 million."

Maryam further said that in total, Khan had looted up to Rs50 million from the Toshakhana, which is a property of the nation.

"He will be exposed soon," she said. "Khan is no longer a stakeholder in Pakistani politics".