Sunday Feb 12, 2023
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Senior Vice-President and Chief Organiser Maryam Nawaz has clarified that she is not interested in becoming the prime minister or the chief minister after the upcoming general elections in the country.
During an informal interaction with journalists on Sunday, she categorically said, “My focus is not on the slot of prime minister or chief minister.”
The PML-N stalwart also said for now, Junaid — her son — had also no intention of joining politics. “Junaid has to take the responsibility for his home first,” she said on a lighter note.
Junaid Safdar, a Cambridge graduate, has two Master's and two Bachelor's degrees from UK universities. A polo enthusiast got married in London in August 2021 and celebrated a grand valima ceremony in December in Lahore.
Maryam said that the foundation, identity and power of her party was “performance”. Responding to a question about people’s response, the PML-N leader said she was surprised to see the enthusiasm and numbers of the people who welcomed her upon her return to the homeland. She was in London since October 2022 and spent time with her father and party supremo Nawaz Sharif before coming back to Pakistan in the last week of January.
“The response was beyond my expectation,” she added.
Without naming former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan, the scion of the Sharif family's political dynasty said that the people knew who brought inflation and took the country’s economy to the brink of disaster.
"Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s focus is on good governance." At the same time, she said the coalition government could not turn a blind eye to rising inflation.
Responding to a question, she said that PML-N would hold public rallies near the upcoming elections. “The entire programme of the Tanzeemi (organising) Convention was arranged by Nawaz Sharif himself.”
Speaking on the occasion, Maryam said that the PML-N’s social media wing was working on a voluntary basis. “We find it difficult to repeat even true accusation,” she added.
The PTI, she said, recruited keyboard warriors on the government’s expenditure. She added that their competition was with very rude people.
Maryam also announced that her "party is setting up its own IT wing" to counter the propaganda of their opponents.
Moving towards Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, the PML-N leader called him her “elder brother”, saying that he was not angry with the party — as it was well in the debate why Abbasi resigned from the party's key post soon after Maryam's election as the party's senior vice-president and chief organiser's posts.
Abbasi wanted to bring the youth forward in the party, she added.
“Abbasi and my father have relationship for over 30 years,” Maryam said, adding that she would visit the former prime minister — Abbasi.
The PML-N leader also said that she wanted to work under the supervision of her seniors.
Replying to a question, Maryam Nawaz said that the ruling Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) was not an “electoral alliance”.
“It cannot be called an electoral alliance for now,” she added.
The PML-N leader said that strengthening her party across the country, including in Karachi and Sindh "is her mission".
“One of the objectives of her visits is to find the best candidates for the next elections,” she further said.
The PML-N senior vice-president also avoided commenting on the recent 'controversial' statement by her husband — Captain (retd) Safdar — saying that it was his “personal opinion”.
A day earlier, Safdar lashed out at the PML-N for voting to give an extension to former COAS Gen (retd) Qamar Javed Bajwa, which, he claimed dishonoured the party's narrative of vote ko Izzat do.
“The party’s narrative of respecting the public mandate (vote ko izzat do) was very strong earlier but we dishonoured it the day we voted for the extension of army chief General Bajwa,” he had said.
Maryam said that she would not respond to the statement by Safdar.
She went on to say that PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif would be among them soon — the three-time prime minister has been in self-imposed exile in London since 2019 due to health reasons.
“Nawaz Sharif does politics of principles and pays the price for it,” she added.