As Imran Khan’s “Jail Bharo Tehreek” approaches, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Senior Vice-President and Chief Organiser Maryam Nawaz Sunday delivered a hard-hitting speech referring to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief as a “coward leader” who is hiding in his Zaman Park “bunker” to avoid arrest.
Maryam, while addressing her party’s workers’ convention in Rawalpindi, censured the PTI chairman for using “women as a shield” — apparently referring to Khan’s supporters and party workers gathered outside his residence in Lahore in a bid to resist their leader’s possible arrest.
The deposed prime minister, who was ousted from office last spring after a no-confidence motion, has limited himself to his house after he was injured in an attempted assassination attack on him in November last year.
In the wake of sedition cases filed against his party leaders including Fawad Chaudhry, Azam Swati and Shahbaz Gill, Imran Khan on February 4 announced the “Jail Bharo Tehreek” (court arrest movement) which will kickstart from Lahore on (Feb 22) Wednesday.
Taking a jibe at the deposed prime minister, who was removed from power in April, the PML-N stalwart asked her party workers: “Can a coward man be the leader of the Pakistani nation?”
Referring to a fresh audio leak purportedly between PTI leader Yasmin Rashid and Lahore Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Ghulam Mahmood Dogar, Maryam said: “Khan urges people to fill the jails, [but on the other hand] he phones Dogar and asks if the police are coming to arrest him.”
Bashing the PTI-led former government, the PML-N senior leader claimed that Imran Khan’s regime received loans more than the country took in the past 75 years.
According to her, only PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif could steer the country out of the crisis. In the same breath, Maryam said it would take a few years to recover the economy. “Inflation and Imran Khan would be thrown out of the country together.”
Addressing the overwhelmed workers, the PML-N leader also held the former first lady, Bushra Bibi, responsible for the current crises in the country.
‘Elections at the same time’
Earlier, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah — addressing the convention — said that the general elections should be held across the country at the same time.
The security czar said his “party is fully prepared” for the elections. He added that they were not afraid of the elections.
Firing a fresh salvo at Imran Khan over his “Jail Bharo Tehreek” (court arrest movement), Sanaullah said that the government’s response would be “far beyond his imagination.
‘Unity needed ahead of polls’
Speaking on the occasion PML-N leader and former senior vice-president Shahid Khaqan Abbasi urged for unity ahead of the elections for the national and provincial assemblies.
“Elections for the national and provincial assemblies are nearing. We should be united ahead of it and mobilise workers and voters,” the former prime minister said while addressing the party’s workers’ convention.
Khaqan added that the party must decide to ensure hard work and provide the “right candidate” in constituencies.
He hoped for his party’s win in Rawalpindi “if elections are held independently”.
“Whether national or provincial polls are held, PML-N will win. Except for rigging, the party has never lost in Rawalpindi,” Abbasi added.
He also vowed to take disheartened members of the party together.