As the election date was announced, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Senior Vice-President and Chief Organizer Maryam Nawaz asked the judiciary to assess its “basic responsibility” before evaluating the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on conducting general elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
“You sat down to assess the election commission’s accountability. Certainly, investigate it, but have you ever considered your own basic responsibility?” the politician asked, speaking at a workers’ convention in Sargodha, Punjab, on Thursday.
Maryam’s request came a day after Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial took a suo motu notice of an apparent delay in elections and formed a larger bench — led by himself — to hear the case, which began today.
The bench was formed two days after President Dr. Arif Alvi set April 9 as the date for elections to the provincial assemblies of Punjab and KP, which the government called “unconstitutional and illegal.”
“Does the dam waley baba [former Chief Justice Saqib Nisar] know where Pakistan stands today?” she asked, without naming anyone. Do Baba Rehmat and [ex-CJP Asif Saeed] Khosa sahib understand where the country is now?”
Ex-CJP Khosa presided over the five-member Supreme Court bench that disqualified then-prime minister and PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif in the Panama Papers case in 2017.
Turning her criticism back to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran and how he was aided by members of the then-establishment and judiciary — both before and during his government’s tenure — the PML-N leader spoke as their photographs were displayed on a screen behind her.
“The five people on the screen are to blame for Pakistan’s current situation.” “This cabal of five is to blame,” she said, referring to two sitting Supreme Court justices.
Maryam went on to say that their “leader” was former Inter-Services Intelligence chief Lieutenant General (retd) Faiz Hamid, who wanted to be army chief.
“Faiz Hamid aspired to be the chief. “He required a political persona,” she claimed. The politician stated that Hamid’s traces are still present.
“Faiz Hamid despises Imran Khan.” They are afraid because of the crimes they committed in the last five years. “He made billions of rupees and transferred them to Gulf countries,” she said, adding that while Nawaz was the people’s representative, the former spy chief chose Khan as the “watch-stealer.”
Maryam lashed out at the PTI’s ‘Jail Bharo Tehreek’ (court arrest drive), saying, “Those in the jail are missing their parents and children in one night.” This was the world’s first ‘Jail Bharo’ movement, with [PTI] workers leading and the police trailing.”
She claimed that only 60 to 70 people were arrested in Lahore, a city of 15 million people. “Those who were chanting for the ‘Jail Bharo’ campaign up until yesterday (Wednesday) are now asking to be freed.”
She went on to say that Imran Khan would go down in “history’s dustbin” because he lacked the leadership qualities that her father, Nawaz Sharif, possessed. “Prisons for workers and bails for oneself,” she joked, referring to the PTI chief’s fear of going to jail and avoiding the courts.
The PML-N stalwart mocked former Punjab Chief Minister Chaudhry Parvez Elahi for joining the PTI and reminded him of his remarks on former army chief General (retd) Qamar Javed Bajwa for being a Khan apologist: “Today, Parvez Elahi has taken the responsibility of changing nappies.”
She also chastised his son Moonis Elahi for spending his entire life making money.