Thursday, February 23, 2023
As the announcement of the date of the elections triggered a big debate in the country, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Senior Vice-President and Chief Organiser Maryam Nawaz has asked the judiciary to assess its "basic responsibility" before evaluating the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on conducting the general polls in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
“You sat down to evaluate the election commission’s responsibility. Definitely examine it, but have you ever assessed your own basic responsibility?” the politician asked, as she addressed a workers' convention in Sargodha, Punjab on Thursday.
Maryam's demand came a day after Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial took a suo motu notice of an apparent delay in polls and formed a larger bench — headed by himself — to hear the case, the hearing of which began today.
The bench was formed two days after President Dr Arif Alvi fixed April 9 as the date for elections to the provincial assemblies of Punjab and KP — the move condemned by the government as "unconstitutional and illegal".
Without taking any names, she asked: “Does the dam waley baba [former chief justice Saqib Nisar] know where Pakistan stands today? Do Baba Rehmat and [ex-CJP Asif Saeed] Khosa sahib know where the country stands today?”
In 2017 in the Panama Papers case, ex-CJP Khosa headed the five-member Supreme Court bench that disqualified the then-prime minister and PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif.
Turning the aim of her critique back to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran and how he was facilitated by people in the then-establishment and judiciary — both before and during his government’s tenure — the PML-N leader spoke as their photographs ran on a screen behind her.
“The five people visible on the screen are responsible for Pakistan’s current situation. This cabal of five is responsible,” she said, which included two incumbent SC judges.
Maryam added that the former Inter-Services Intelligence chief Lieutenant General (retd) Faiz Hamid was their "leader", as he wanted to become the army chief.
“Faiz Hamid wanted to become the chief. He needed a political face,” she claimed. The politician reiterated that the traces of Hamid still exist.
“Faiz Hamid does not love Imran Khan. There is fear of the crimes they have committed in the last five years. He made billions of rupees and transferred them to the Gulf countries,” she said, adding that while Nawaz was the people’s representative, the former spy chief chose the “watch-stealer” Khan.
Taking a jibe at PTI’s ‘Jail Bharo Tehreek’ (court arrest drive), Maryam said: “Those in the jail are missing their parents and children in one night. This is the world’s first ‘Jail Bharo’ movement in which [PTI] workers were ahead and the police were behind.”
She said only 60 to 70 people got themselves arrested in Lahore, a city of 15 million people. “Those chanting for ‘Jail Bharo’ campaign until yesterday (Wednesday) are now asking to be freed.”
She added that Imran Khan is going into “history’s dustbin” and criticised him for not showing the leadership qualities which her father Nawaz Sharif possessed. “Prisons for workers and bails for oneself,” she said while joking about the PTI chief being afraid of going to jail and also avoiding the courts.
Mocking former Punjab chief minister Chaudhry Parvez Elahi for joining the PTI and reminding him about his comments on former army chief General (retd) Qamar Javed Bajwa for being a Khan apologist, the PML-N stalwart said: “Today, Parvez Elahi has taken the responsibility of changing nappies.”
She also censured his son Moonis Elahi for doing nothing but making money all his life.